FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. – Both of Connecticut's senators slammed the vote by the Federal Communications Commission on Thursday to repeal net neutrality rules, warning of the potential harmful repercussions of the move.
The FCC voted 3-2 along party lines on Thursday to repeal the Obama-era net neutrality regulations for the internet. The rules were implemented in an effort to curb the power of internet service providers and prevent them from speeding up, slowing down or blocking content or websites.
Proponents of net neutrality have argued that repealing the rules would allow internet service providers to control what content users can access, hurt consumers and make the internet less free and open. Those in favor of repealing the rules believe that they are an example of government over-reach and that getting rid of the regulations will lead to more innovation and investment.
U.S. Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, both Democrats, lambasted the vote on Thursday afternoon.
“The FCC has recklessly and needlessly repealed rules that have kept the playing field level, and defined the success of our current internet economy. This action has made a mockery of consumer protection at the expense of our economy," Blumenthal said. "It will disastrously disadvantage small businesses. It threatens the internet’s incredible success and persistent innovation. And it will harm consumers with higher prices and lower speeds."
"In the face of overwhelming opposition, Chairman [Ajit] Pai and the Republican majority of the FCC have damaged the open internet as we know it, and with it the uniquely American accessibility and spirit that has allowed it to thrive,” Blumenthal continued. “Without these protections, antitrust agencies and other regulators must play a much more aggressive role – including more vigorous and frequent investigations of anticompetitive behavior – but even that will not be sufficient to neutralize the harm caused by the FCC’s rash and destructive action.”
Murphy said, “Imagine if the power company could decide which of your appliances got steady, reliable electricity while all other products suffered from low power and blackouts. Or if the water company could throttle back your water supply if they thought your shower was too long. The reason we regulate utilities is exactly so they can’t play those games—we don’t allow them to play favorites with consumers or providers. But that’s exactly what President Trump’s FCC just did with the internet – broadband providers and big businesses will make a bunch of money, but consumers, small businesses, and startups could be hit hard."
“The internet is at its best when it’s open and accessible to anyone or any business. The success of your business, website or ideas shouldn’t be based on whether you have enough cash to pay off your cable company. We need to bring back net neutrality and keep the internet free and open,” Murphy added.
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