Cantwell Co-Sponsors Bill to Reinstate Net Neutrality, Reverse Damaging Trump-Era Deregulation

July 28, 2022

U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell, Chair of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, which oversees federal internet policy, today joined Commerce Committee member Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), and Representative Doris Matsui (CA-06) in introducing the Net Neutrality and Broadband Justice Act. The legislation would accurately classify broadband internet access as a telecommunications service under Title II of the Communications Act, giving the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) the appropriate authority to reinstate net neutrality protections. 

“A free and open internet is vital to our innovation economy. Washington state is home to the fifth highest share of remote workers in the country, as well as the single highest concentration of workers in the tech sector. These jobs hinge on reliable connectivity,” said Senator Cantwell. “This bill would increase competition, protect consumers and ban broadband providers from arbitrarily slowing down service, ensuring that everyone can access this great equalizer.”

“The Net Neutrality and Broadband Justice Act reflects the undeniable fact that today, broadband is not a luxury. It is essential. That means the potential harms that internet users face without strong net neutrality protections and without the FCC able to exercise its proper authority are more sweeping than ever,” said Senator Markey. “My legislation would reverse the damaging approach adopted by the Trump FCC, which left broadband access unregulated and consumers unprotected. It would give the FCC the tools it needs to protect the free and open internet, creating a just broadband future for everyone in our country. I thank my partners for their support for this critical legislation.”

“For anyone who wants more innovation, more voices and less corporate control of the internet, net neutrality is an absolute no-brainer,” said Senator Wyden. “I wrote the first Senate net neutrality bill to protect the open internet, where bits are bits and no one has to pay extra for digital toll roads just to learn, shop or get health care online. Oregon and other states have stepped up in the wake of the Trump Administration’s damaging actions. Now I’m proud to partner with Senator Markey and Rep. Matsui to restore net neutrality across the country and prevent big cable from gouging consumers and small businesses.”

“The 21st century economy relies on a free and open internet – providing innovators and consumers with access to vital services and information,” said Congresswoman Matsui. “Trump-era deregulation has left the internet landscape without comprehensive consumer protections, allowing discriminatory practices that leave everyday Americans facing the consequences. For the online ecosystem to remain a dynamic engine of innovation, we need clear rules of the road that prevent internet service providers from blocking, slowing and prioritizing web traffic. This bill will give the FCC the power to adapt to the ever-changing marketplace, defend equitable access and promote free expression and innovation online.” 

“The pandemic made clear internet access is no longer a luxury, but a necessity—and that consumers don’t just need broadband, they need to be able to hold their providers to account. After all, everyone should be able to go where they want and do what they want online without their broadband provider making choices for them,” said FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel. “I support Net Neutrality because it fosters this openness and accountability.  While I trust the FCC has the authority it needs to adopt Net Neutrality rules, legislation that helps ensure it is the law of the land is welcome.”

Sen. Cantwell has been a leading advocate for strong net neutrality protections and has led the fight to protect and restore net neutrality rules to keep a free and open internet. In 2019, Sen. Cantwell joined other Democratic leaders from the Senate and House to unveil the Save the Internet Act to restore net neutrality protections and keep the internet open and free. The legislation would reverse the Trump Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) disastrous 2017 repeal of critical net neutrality protections.

The legislation is also co-sponsored by Senators Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), and Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Angus King (I-Maine), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.).