Merkley: Stronger Net Neutrality Rules Are Huge Step Forward for Consumers and American Innovation

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley released the following statement after FCC Chair Tom Wheeler announced his proposal for stronger net neutrality rules, classifying the Internet as a telecommunications service under Title II of the 1996 Telecommunications Act, and allowing for an open Internet. Merkley had pushed Wheeler to use Title II for a stronger approach to net neutrality that would better protect consumers and American innovation.

“Today’s news is a big win for pretty much anyone who uses the Internet,” said Merkley. “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. If we allowed the Internet to become a place where big telecom companies act as gatekeepers or toll collectors, and only the wealthy and powerful can play, it would be a disaster. Putting a stop to ‘throttling’ and paid ‘fast lanes’ is a huge step forward for consumers and for American innovation.

“This turnabout from the FCC follows an unprecedented grassroots push from American consumers and entrepreneurs. Millions of ordinary Americans weighed in with the FCC to make their voices heard. Today’s news is a testament to the power that the American people can have when millions of voices speak as one to push for an economy that works for everyone, not just a powerful few.”