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Rosenworcel Preaches “Net Neutrality Protections”

Chairwoman says a lot has changed since the commission repeal in 2017

With the FCC about to start a process to classify broadband as a utility service, its media office has distributed “10 Facts About Net Neutrality Protections.”

The list is intended to support Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel’s pending notice of proposed rulemaking and her argument that “we need broadband to reach 100 percent of us — and we need it fast, open and fair.”

The list describes broadband as essential and states, “A lot has changed since the previous FCC repealed net neutrality.”

It says the pandemic “reaffirmed the essential nature of broadband access to protect the health and economic security of all Americans” and that new threats to national security demand stronger oversight of broadband network vulnerabilities.

“Currently, no federal agency can effectively monitor or address broadband outages that, in a post-pandemic world, can threaten jobs, education, health and public safety,” the list states.

It argues that the FCC in 2017 disregarded its duty and abdicated oversight when it rolled back net neutrality. “When the previous FCC stepped back from net neutrality protections, the court said states could step in. Despite the heroic efforts by individual states to provide robust oversight in response to the previous FCC’s retreat from authority, we need a national standard to keep internet access fast, open and fair.”

It argues that the FCC has “clear statutory authority” to enforce open internet policies if broadband internet is classified as a Title II service, and that it’s a myth that restoring FCC oversight of broadband networks would delay new investment and innovation.

It also says the proposal does not allow for rate regulation of broadband service, nor does it give the FCC authority to police online speech.  And it says Title II would bolster FCC authority to require internet service providers to address internet outages.

Commissioner Brendan Carr, the senior Republican on the FCC, put out his own statement Wednesday ahead of the monthly open FCC meeting, saying, “No matter what you hear tomorrow and beyond, the internet is not broken and the FCC does not need Title II to fix it.” (Read about his comments.)

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