Cantwell: Net Neutrality Critical to a Thriving App Economy

App economy is worth $950 billion and supports 4.7 million U.S. jobs; without net neutrality, it could be hindered by slower internet speeds, blocked websites, and higher costs

Washington, D.C. – Ahead of tomorrow’s Senate vote to preserve net neutrality protections, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) today discussed the critical role net neutrality plays in bolstering the mobile app economy and fostering job creation, e-commerce, and innovation at a Senate Commerce subcommittee hearing.

“I think what consumers are worried about is that the app economy is going to get hijacked and that they’re going to be so dependent, as small businesses, that if somehow they’re artificially slowed down or throttled, then that’s going to be a problem for them,” said Senator Cantwell.

In her questions, Senator Cantwell also highlighted the important role net neutrality plays in ensuring people throughout Washington state and around the country have equal access to a reliable internet connection.

“Whether you’re in Seattle, one of the most connected places in the country, or on the other side of the state, you still want the same thing. You want the efficiency that comes from all these applications,” Cantwell continued. “And if that is information in the cloud, you don’t want to be slowed down from getting access to it, because otherwise you’re not going to be running efficient business.”

Without net neutrality, consumers and small businesses could face slower internet speeds, blocked websites, and higher costs for internet service.

“I hope our colleagues will take time to really deeply understand how much this access is about small businesses starting something new and being competitive, and that’s why we need to have net neutrality,” Cantwell said.

Cantwell also referenced a rally she held last week in Spokane with small business leaders and tech startups in support of net neutrality. These businesses told Cantwell that “we use these apps every day to manage our business, and to manage it on behalf of our customers. And if somebody starts artificially slowing that down today, then I’m going to be less efficient in delivering services.”

Today’s comments at a hearing of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet come ahead of tomorrow’s expected vote in the United States Senate on a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution that would block the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)’s recent rollback of net neutrality rules.

Last week, Senator Cantwell officially filed a discharge petition to force tomorrow’s vote on net neutrality and block the FCC’s partisan repeal of the 2015 Open Internet Rule, which prevents internet service providers from blocking, slowing down, or discriminating against online content. A recent poll showed that 83% of Americans oppose the FCC’s action to repeal net neutrality rules.

CRA resolutions allow Congress to overturn regulatory actions taken by federal agencies with a simple majority vote in both chambers.

The broadcast quality video of Senator Cantwell’s questions can be found HERE.

The video can also be found on YouTube HERE.