Despite overwhelming Democratic opposition, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology passed a resolution today, stripping the Internet of rules in place to protect its freedom, its openness, and enhance innovation. H.J. Res.37 invalidates the open Internet order adopted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in December, 2010. The resolution passed the Subcommittee by a vote of 15-8 and will now be considered by the full Committee.
After the vote, Rep. Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA), Ranking Member of the Communications and Technology Subcommittee, said: "Because of the Internet's open and free environment, innovation, competition and consumer choice have thrived, millions of jobs have been created, and thousands of new, innovative businesses have been launched. The Republican resolution places the control of this environment with corporations who have a demonstrated incentive to disrupt it, rather than consumers. An open environment of consumer choice is inseparable from the Internet as we know it, and our national laws should protect it."
Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-CA), Ranking Member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, said: "This is a destructive resolution that threatens openness and innovation on the Internet. Instead of protecting the consumer, this action will tie the hands of the FCC and give broadband network operators a green light to block from consumers any applications, content, and services they choose to block. This represents a terrible disservice to residential and business users, harms technological innovation and slows job creation."
Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), a senior member and former chairman of the Subcommittee, said: "Today's effort by Republicans to undo the FCC's sensible Open Internet Rule is not just a solution in search of a problem -- it's a RESolution in search of a problem. Consumers rely on the freedom that the Internet provides, and our economy requires this freedom to promote innovation and encourage investment. The Open Internet Rule helps ensure that the Internet continues to be a vital tool that helps businesses compete and expand, pumping life into our economy now and in the future. Republican efforts to overturn the Order will adversely impact Internet users, small businesses, and our economy as a whole."
Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Sacramento), Co-Chair of the Congressional High-Tech Caucus and a member of the Subcommittee said: "The Net Neutrality rules put forth by the FCC protect consumers, promote innovation, support competition, and ensure that the Internet remains open and free. Not one of those things should be controversial. And yet, as we have seen today, Republicans would rather spend time trying to derail these common-sense rules than working on such things as creating jobs and creating certainty in our technology and broadband economy."
The FCC received more than 100,000 comments from more than 2 million people during its rulemaking process--90 percent of whom were in favor of open Internet rules. Over a hundred public interest organizations, civil rights groups, religious groups, small businesses, unions, education advocates, and technology company associations expressed their support for preserving a free and open Internet, and opposing efforts to overturn the FCC rules. Copies of all letters of support can be accessed here: http://democrats.energycommerce.house.gov/index.php?q=news/organizations-unite-in-opposition-to-republican-efforts-to-block-new-open-internet-rules