U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz and U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard both spoke out against plans by the Federal Communications Commission Tuesday to dismantle net neutrality.
FCC chairman Ajit Pai put forward his plan to repeal net neutrality rules put in place by the Obama administration, which prohibited high-speed internet service providers from blocking or slowing down the delivery of websites, or charging extra fees for the best quality of services for subscribers. The FCC votes on net neutrality next month.
“Since its formation, we’ve seen a free and open internet grow our economy and our imaginations,” said Schatz in a statement. “But today the FCC has threatened to end the internet as we know it. If adopted, the FCC’s plan will change the way every American gets information, watches movies, listens to music, conducts business, and talks to their families. By repealing basic net neutrality protections, the FCC is handing over full control of the internet to providers, leaving the American people with fewer choices and less access.”
Schatz also tweeted: “We need to make net neutrality a voting issue. Online outrage needs to turn into votes.”
Gabbard urged her supporters to sign her petition against dismantling net neutrality.
“Yet again, Chairman Pai and the FCC are rewarding pay-to-play politics, ensuring that those with money have a seat at the table, and shutting everyone else out,” she said. “Net neutrality protections ensure that the Internet remains open, fair, and equal for everyone. By dismantling these protections, we turn our backs on the most fundamental First Amendment rights of our students, entrepreneurs, innovators, small businesses, and working families, and all who rely on an open Internet to level the playing field of opportunity.
She added: “The FCC must fulfill their responsibility to all Americans, not just big Internet Service Providers. I urge the FCC to listen to the voices of more than 22 million public comments, including 61,707 from Hawaii, on net neutrality and reject this corporate attack on equality.”
Gabbard tweeted: “We should be discussing how to expand internet access to more people, not restrict it to those who can afford to pay more. We need to keep #NetNeutrality.”