March 12 was a big day for Free Press Action in D.C., with our team testifying at two high-profile hearings on Capitol Hill.
Matt Wood, our VP of policy and general counsel, kicked things off in the morning before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, speaking in support of the Save The Internet Act — the newly introduced bill that would overrule the Trump FCC and restore the agency’s 2015 Open Internet Order.
Matt showed why Net Neutrality “is an issue of economic and racial justice” that protects “people’s rights to say and see what they want online, free from unjust interference by ISPs.” He deflected and debunked industry talking points with poise and humor.
“Some still say we have no business applying laws written for ‘1930s monopolies.’ But what about present-day ones?” he asked. “I doubt many constituents back home complain to you that broadband is just so darn affordable and reasonable, they’d be glad for no oversight at all.”
You know you’re getting to your opponents when they start launching unfounded attacks. And the Republicans on the committee zeroed in on Free Press, trying to cast aspersions about our research, funding and rhetoric. One member complained that our tweets questioning his policy positions were too mean.
Matt responded with facts and reason — and repeated reminders that the overwhelming majority of the public (including 82 percent of Republicans) supports real Net Neutrality.
We know lawmakers have gotten an earful from their constituents on this issue (one member hinted that she’d heard more lately about Net Neutrality than anything else). Already, more than 130 representatives and 46 senators have signed on to the Save The Internet Act as co-sponsors.
We can pass this bill and are ready to raise hell to make sure that happens. We’ll be visiting members of Congress in Washington and when they’re back home in their districts next week. And we won’t stop fighting until Net Neutrality is restored. You can take action here.
On Tuesday afternoon, Free Press Senior Policy Counsel Carmen Scurato testified against the T-Mobile/Sprint merger alongside the CEOs of both companies.
She focused on the “disproportionate harms it would cause to low-income communities and people of color, who are more likely to be on the wrong side of the digital divide, and more often rely on mobile phones as their only means of connecting to the internet.”
“The reason that members of these communities choose Sprint and T-Mobile is very clear: Their plans cost less,” she told Congress. “As our research confirms, these two carriers compete with one another vigorously. They are each other’s closest competitors.”
While T-Mobile’s wannabe hipster CEO John Legere tried to make the preposterous claim that this merger would take the wireless market from “two to three” major carriers, in reality this deal would take us from four to three national providers, raise prices and lead to nearly 30,000 job losses.
“T-Mobile and Sprint both offer lower-priced options than their larger rivals,” Carmen said. “Don’t believe the parties’ funny math suggesting that having fewer competitors somehow strengthens competition.”
While T-Mobile and Sprint’s claims didn’t hold up to scrutiny in front of Congress, it’s not yet clear which way top officials at the Justice Department are leaning. For its part, T-Mobile has been trying to woo the administration by booking stays at Trump hotels — admitting to shelling out $195,000 at the D.C. property alone.