August 02, 2022
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Angus King, Co-Chair of the Senate Broadband Caucus, is introducing legislation to reinstate internet neutrality protections and prohibit internet providers from unfair consumer practices. The Net Neutrality and Broadband Justice Act would reclassify broadband internet access as a telecommunications service under Title II of the Communications Act, giving the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) the appropriate authority to reinstate net neutrality protections and stop discriminatory practices like blocking, speed throttling, and paid prioritization. The legislation comes shortly after Congress made the two largest broadband investments in history with the American Rescue Plan and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
“In the 21st century, high-speed internet access is not a luxury – it’s a necessity. There is no tool more vital for small businesses, families, or students,” said Senator King. “Delivering on the promise of the internet takes more than just getting broadband cables to homes, it also means ensuring that a small business in Dover-Foxcroft has the same online services and access as multi-billion dollar company in London. Without strong net neutrality protections, service providers can limit services, choke access to important websites, and slow down consumers who aren’t able to pay more. The Net Neutrality and Broadband Justice Act would reinstate the fundamental consumer internet protections that guarantee equal treatment of all users. As broadband connections reach more households and businesses nationwide, ensuring an open internet is an essential step to making sure Maine people can take full advantage of the opportunities high-speed connectivity brings.”
“The pandemic made clear internet access is a necessity—and that consumers don’t just need broadband, they need to be able to hold their providers to account. After all, everyone should be able to go where they want and do what they want online without their broadband provider making choices for them,” said FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel. “I support Net Neutrality because it fosters this openness and accountability. While I trust the FCC has the authority it needs to adopt Net Neutrality rules, legislation that helps ensure it is the law of the land is welcome.”
In 2017, the Trump administration’s Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rolled back net neutrality rules, freeing broadband providers to regulate or throttle online content as they desire. The Net Neutrality and Broadband Justice Act would classify broadband internet access as a telecommunications service under Title II of the Communications Act, once again giving the FCC authority to enforce net neutrality protections and stop discriminatory practices from internet providers.
As Co-Chair of the bipartisan Senate Broadband Caucus, Senator King has been a strong advocate for expanding affordable, equitable internet access as a way to increase economic opportunity across America. He was a key negotiator of the historic broadband provisions in the American Rescue Plan and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law which are expected to deliver over $400 million for Maine’s broadband expansion. King has fiercely defended the importance of net neutrality – taking to the Senate floor in defense of the regulation – and previously introduced the Save the Internet Act to restore the consumer internet protections.