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Public Statements

Disapproving FCC Internet and Broadband Regulations

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. DOYLE. Madam Speaker, I rise in the strongest possible opposition to this resolution. If enacted, it will strip the Federal Communications Commission of its authority to police the most egregious conduct of broadband providers, and it would permit those providers to block consumers' access to lawful Web sites of their choice.

The FCC's open Internet rule makes two simple promises: To consumers, that we can visit any legal Web site and use any online service on any device we want; to innovators, that they don't have to ask permission from the government or get shaken down by Internet access providers when they come up with a new Web site, device, or service. That's it. That isn't regulating the Internet. No one's proposing to regulate Internet content. But Internet access providers have always lived with basic rules of the road. No blocking was chief among them.

Those basic rules of the road are what turned the Internet into the economic engine that it is today. But in our hearings on this bill, we learned that some broadband providers want the right to block what you can see. I'll tell you what I don't want. I don't want to live in a country where it's legal to block Web sites like it is in Iran, China, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and in other oppressive regimes.

Why can't we have a regulation that protects your constituents' Internet freedom? What's the harm in ensuring that no one can block your constituents' ability to access the Web sites they want to visit?

I offered an amendment to this bill that simply tried to ensure that if this resolution of disapproval that we are considering today is enacted into law, broadband providers would not be able to block or interfere with consumers' access to lawful Web sites. But the way this resolution is written, we are not allowed to offer perfecting amendments.

You know, we used to be able to debate net neutrality in a levelheaded way. The no blocking principle was broadly accepted since it was included in the FCC's 2005 Internet Policy Statement, then controlled by Republicans. That principle has garnered support from both Democratic and Republican FCC Commissioners. Chairman Michael Powell stated at the time that consumers have come to be able to expect to go where they want on high-speed connections. And this was also part of the Communications Opportunity Promotion and Enhancement Act of 2006 authored by Chairman Barton at that time. Most of my Republican colleagues who were there voted in favor of the bill.

To close, this resolution gives the green light to broadband providers to block anything, even legal content on the Internet, just like they do in Iran. I think consumers should have the choice to go where they want to go and to do what they want to do on the Internet. That's why my colleagues should oppose this legislation.


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