WASHINGTON — On Wednesday, Sen. John Kennedy (R–Louisiana) announced he had introduced anti-Net Neutrality legislation that is a companion to the so-called “Open Internet Preservation Act” introduced in the House by Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R–Tennessee) late last year.
Kennedy’s legislation lacks many of the fundamental guarantees that prevent internet access providers from interfering with online traffic and discriminating against websites and services. It reportedly includes some prohibitions on blocking or throttling of internet traffic, but would not prevent pay-to-play prioritization schemes. The legislation would also constrain FCC authority to contend with future abuses and prevent states from enacting their own Net Neutrality protections.
Free Press Action Fund President and CEO Craig Aaron made the following statement:
“Lobbyists for AT&T and Comcast have lost their fight against Net Neutrality in the court of public opinion. So they have pressured lawmakers to introduce fake Net Neutrality bills that would end all effective oversight of ISPs’ anti-competitive, anti-consumer practices.
“While Senator Kennedy claims his bill was written in defense of an open internet, it's borrowing the language of Net Neutrality to allow a few unregulated monopolies to stifle competition and control the future of communications. This cynical attempt to offer fake protections to internet users is an insult to the millions of people who have called on Congress to pass a Congressional Review Act resolution of disapproval, which would repeal the FCC’s bad 2017 ruling against Net Neutrality.
“It’s a betrayal of Kennedy’s own constituents, who have shown up week after week outside his offices urging him to do the right thing and back the CRA. The only way to stand up for real Net Neutrality right now is to reject the Trump FCC ruling and restore Title II authority. The way to do that is by sponsoring the resolutions of disapproval introduced last month in the House and Senate. The Net Neutrality protections put in place in 2015 were working extraordinarily well, with investment and innovation flourishing across the sector.
“Kennedy’s bill defies the will of Louisianians on both sides of the political aisle, and suggests he was never seriously considering the facts about Net Neutrality, despite his claims in the press. Public support for real Net Neutrality is greater than it has ever been — and Internet users won’t be fooled by half-measures or industry attempts to confuse the issue. They can see through this sham. Lawmakers should reject Kennedy's bill, pass the resolution of disapproval and restore the vital bipartisan principles enshrined in the law by Title II.”