Senator Leahy, like all Vermonters, understands that the Internet is a platform for free expression and innovation, and it should be a platform where the best ideas and services can reach consumers based on their merit and content, not on a financial relationship with a service provider.
That is why Senator Leahy is deeply concerned by new FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s efforts to rescind the landmark Open Internet Rules adopted by the FCC in 2015.
Only two years ago, nearly four million Americans – an unprecedented number – participated in the FCC’s rulemaking process and called for strong, meaningful rules to keep the Internet an open platform for commerce, ideas, and expression.
In July 2014, as then-Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Leahy held a field hearing in Burlington, Vermont, and heard directly from entrepreneurs and small businesses why net neutrality rules are so important. Like Americans across the country, Vermonters stressed that maintaining an equal playing field on the Internet protects the ability of small businesses to use the Internet to expand their businesses beyond the Vermont border without fear of restrictive fees and special Internet “fast lanes.”
The FCC’s Open Internet Order in 2015 responded to these small businesses, industry experts, and to millions of concerned Americans. The rules benefit and protect both consumers and broader marketplace competition, and ensure that the Internet remains an open and dynamic platform for innovation and free speech.
Senator Leahy is deeply concerned that immediately upon taking his office, President Trump’s new FCC Chairman initiated action to rescind the FCC’s net neutrality rules. Millions across this country rely on open broadband Internet access at work and in their daily lives. That open Internet access has been the driving force of the 21st century – for innovation and for American consumers. Senator Leahy believes we must preserve it and continue to show leadership and stand together to protect the foundational principles of net neutrality.