Senate Panel Votes to Weaken Open Internet Order

Today, the Senate Commerce Committee approved a bill, S. 2283

https://www.commerce.senate.gov/public/_cache/files/7c339b51-5580-4523-b4c0-a5b050d51682/DF620BAE21D40AF301040E0BD6625C70.bills-114s2283is.pdf

, that would exempt many broadband providers from the Open Internet Order’s transparency rules for three years. The FCC, which granted small providers this exemption through 2016, recently issued guidance on how ISPs can comply with the transparency rules. Today’s vote comes just one day after a federal court upheld the Open Internet Order’s transparency rules in a landmark victory for consumers, the FCC, and Internet freedom.

The following statement can be attributed to Joshua Stager, policy counsel for New America’s Open Technology Institute:

“This legislation creates a needless loophole in the Open Internet Order. To weaken that order just one day after it was upheld by a federal court is an affront to the millions of Americans who asked for these rules. The transparency rules help ensure a level playing field for small businesses to compete in the online marketplace—which is why so many small businesses asked the FCC to create these rules in the first place.

Ultimately, this bill is a solution in search of a problem. Small ISPs are already exempt from these rules through the end of the year and the FCC can grant an extension if necessary.  The bill’s sponsors haven’t explained why Congressional action is needed. They also haven’t demonstrated how being transparent with customers is a burden for any ISP. Every consumer deserves transparency regardless of whether their ISP is big or small.

We thank Senator Markey and Senator Blumenthal for opposing this bill and for standing on the side of consumers and small businesses.”