Cantwell to President Trump: Keep the Internet Free and Open

Senator: Reversing FCC Net Neutrality rules “will harm consumers, innovation, and our economy”

WASHINGTON, D.C.  – Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) sent a letter to President Trump voicing her disapproval of his choice of Ajit Pai for Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).  Cantwell’s objections center on Mr. Pai’s open opposition to the FCC’s Net Neutrality rules, which provide for equal access to the internet and support our thriving internet economy.

America depends on a free and open internet to power growth in the robust internet economy. The jobs of almost 3 million Americans rely on the internet economy. In addition, the development and use of applications for smartphones and tablets, created 466,000 high-tech jobs and generated more than $20 billion in annual revenue. Noting President Trump’s campaign pledges to grow the economy and boost the job market, Cantwell warned the President that taking steps to repeal a free and open internet would put these economic gains in jeopardy.

“I am disappointed that your choice to guide the Commission is not a supporter of the FCC’s strong rules to protect an open internet, putting at risk our robust Net Neutrality rules and the three million internet economy jobs it supports,” said Senator Cantwell.

Cantwell made clear that maintaining an open and free internet is also about protecting consumers. Erasing the FCC’s Net Neutrality rules would create a two-tiered system in which Fortune 500 companies and those with means could pay for special access while putting everyday users and small business owners at a disadvantage.

“This will leave slow lanes for small businesses and individuals, imperiling the access and innovation that drives the internet economy. This is unacceptable,” the Senator wrote. “All consumers and all innovators deserve equal access to an open internet.”

In the Senate, Cantwell has led the charge for rules to establish and protect Net Neutrality and equal access to the internet. She was an early advocate for the FCC to take up Net Neutrality and used her position as a senior member of the Senate Commerce Committee to keep continuous pressure on the Commission during the drafting and implementation of the rules.

The full letter can be viewed here.