(EDITOR’S NOTE: Sen. Jon Tester, D-Montana, wrote the following letter on Nov. 28 to Ajit Pai, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, to urge him to reverse his efforts to do away with so-called net neutrality.)
Dear Chairman Pai:
I write to express deep concern with your recent proposal to fully repeal current net neutrality rules designed to guarantee an open internet for all Americans. The proposal, called the Restoring Internet Freedom Order, will make it possible for large multi-national corporations to block websites, purposefully slow down internet access, and routinely interfere with web traffic. In fact, the only true freedom in your Order is the freedom for these large corporations to reduce consumer choice, control the flow of internet information and increase profits at the expense of everyday Montanans. I strongly urge you to reverse course on your net neutrality proposal and put the American people’s ability to openly access the internet before corporate bottom lines.
Montanans expect unfettered access to the web, which means absolutely no blocking websites, no paid prioritization, and no throttling speeds. Unlike other countries with governments that enable or engage in website blocking or other web interference, Americans have long enjoyed open access to the internet without the fear of corporate censorship or lack of web browsing choice. The current openness of the internet allows innovators and entrepreneurs to create jobs, communities to keep citizens safe and informed and students to access endless information. Your proposal to cut off the open internet threatens this era of tremendous growth, heightened public safety and free flowing access to information.
As the Commission considers your net neutrality proposal in the coming weeks, I ask that you listen to the Americans who are rightfully demanding an open internet and rescind this corporate backed proposal. I believe Congress should work on codifying basic open internet rules, so the Commission can turn its attention to broadband deployment in rural America.
Montana’s small carriers are working incredibly hard to serve the hardest to reach places and they could use your help right-sizing the Universal Service Fund to finish the job. In order to compete in a 21st century economy, Montana businesses, students and consumers need access to a free and open internet and they need an FCC committed to promoting infrastructure. Thank you for your consideration. —Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont.