WASHINGTON, D.C. – Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley released the following statement after Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chair Ajit Pai announced his proposal to dismantle net neutrality rules, paving the way for internet providers to block or slow down websites or charge consumers extra fees for quality internet service. Merkley had pushed the previous FCC chair to take a stronger approach to net neutrality that would better protect consumers and American innovation.
“Today’s news is a massive blow to pretty much anyone who uses the Internet,” Merkley said. “Consumers and entrepreneurs alike need a free, open and competitive Internet. What has made the Internet the most powerful tool of the 21st century is that it’s a level playing field, where an interesting idea or an innovative startup can reach millions of people no matter whom it came from.
“Now, the FCC Chair wants to allow the Internet to become a place where big telecom companies can act as gatekeepers or toll collectors, and only the wealthy and powerful can play. This is a disaster. Preventing ‘throttling’ and paid ‘fast lanes’ was a huge step forward for consumers and for American innovation, and reversing those rules is yet another way the Trump administration is prioritizing the privileged and powerful over small businesses and consumers.”