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March 06, 2019

King, Colleagues Introduce Legislation to Restore Net Neutrality Protections

WASHINGTON D.C. –U.S. Senator Angus King today joined his colleagues to introduce the Save the Internet Act, bicameral legislation that will ensure the internet remains open and free from discriminatory practices. The bill would reverse the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)’s repeal of critical net neutrality protections in 2017, and fully restore the 2015 Open Internet Order. Senator King heralded the legislation’s introduction in a social media video, which can be viewed HERE.

“There is no tool more fundamental and vital to success in the 21st century economy than the open internet,” said Senator King. “Under the framework set up by net neutrality, a mom-and-pop shop in Fort Kent or a start-up in Lewiston would have the same access to the internet as an international corporation. But without these protections, the ‘big guys’ can drive up costs – which would stifle innovation and make it harder for Maine small businesses to compete in the global marketplace. This isn’t a partisan issue – it’s about protecting the free and open internet so Americans of all backgrounds can continue to use this tool to pursue economic, educational, and social opportunities.”

The Save the Internet Act restores the three legacy net neutrality principles – no blocking, no throttling and no paid prioritization – and empowers the FCC to prohibit unreasonable and discriminatory practices.  The legislation also ensures consumers can make informed decisions when shopping for internet plans and restores the FCC’s authority to fund broadband access and deployment, particularly for rural communities and struggling Americans.  The Save the Internet Act codifies the FCC’s 2015 Open Internet Order in a similar manner to last year’s Congressional Review Act, which was cosponsored by Senator King and passed the Senate in May 2018.

Senator King is a fierce proponent of protecting the internet as a tool that can be used equally by all. In May, he spoke on the Senate floor in support of net neutrality, and he led a discussion with Maine business owners, innovators, and entrepreneurs to discuss the implications a repeal of net neutrality could have on startups, job creators, and Maine’s statewide economy.  In December 2017, he sent two letters to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai expressing concern about the proposal: one with Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) asking Chairman Pai to cancel the FCC’s vote repealing net neutrality, and another with a group of 38 Senate colleagues urging Chairman Pai to abandon the attempts to repeal net neutrality protections. In September 2015, he filed an amicus brief with the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in support of the FCC’s Open Internet rules. He also wrote a letter to then-FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler in advance of the Commission’s net neutrality decision urging the FCC to put in place strong, light-touch protections that ensure the internet remains open and free of discriminatory practices.

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