Cantwell, Markey Commend Upcoming FCC Net Neutrality Rule

April 18, 2024

Rule would protect free and open internet by saying to service providers “you can’t throttle, you can’t slow down, and you can’t charge exorbitant fees” so that some internet content gets preferential treatment

U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, joined a press conference with Senators Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Representative Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.-16), and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chair Jessica Rosenworcel on the upcoming FCC rule reclassifying broadband as a telecommunications service under Title II of the Communications Act and reinstating net neutrality protections. The Commission will vote on the final rule at its open meeting on April 25.

"The State of Washington has the fifth-highest share of remote workers in the country and the highest concentration of tech workers, so they rely on safeguarding for small businesses the ability to compete online," Sen. Cantwell said. "We need to protect the growing innovation economy by making sure that we have rules that say you can’t throttle, you can’t slow down, and you can’t charge exorbitant fees just to have preferential treatment."

“Over six years after the Trump FCC foolishly repealed the net neutrality rule, the FCC is on the verge of reinstating these critical protections and regaining the authority to oversee the most critical communication tool of our day: broadband,” said Sens. Markey and Wyden. “This rulemaking is an overdue recognition that broadband – like water or electricity – is essential, and the FCC’s authority should reflect that. We commend Chairwoman Rosenworcel and the Commission staff for their hard work, diligence, and expertise, and we will continue to work with them to adopt and defend strong net neutrality protections.” 

“I’ve advocated for a free and open internet since I came to Congress. Lack of an open internet has real life consequences. In 2018, while Santa Clara County firefighters were fighting one of the largest wildfires in California’s history, Verizon throttled their data speeds, slowing them down to one 200th of their normal speed, severely hindering their ability to communicate and putting people’s lives at risk. The FCC’s action to restore net neutrality is imperative for public safety, consumer protection, and American innovation,” said Rep. Eshoo.

“Survey after survey showed that 80 percent of the public support the FCC’s national net neutrality rules and opposed their repeal. Bringing back the FCC’s authority over broadband and putting back net neutrality rules is popular, and it has been court-tested and court-approved. It is good for consumers who count on broadband like never before, and it is important for public safety and national security. When the FCC votes next week, we have an opportunity to get this right. Because in a modern digital economy, it is time to have broadband oversight, national net neutrality rules and policies that ensure the internet is fast, open, and fair,” said FCC Chairwoman Rosenworcel.

As Chair of the Commerce Committee, Sen. Cantwell has consistently championed legislation to support a free and open internet. In June 2023, Sen. Cantwell chaired the nomination hearing of Anna Gomez for FCC Commissioner, and advanced her nomination a month later. Gomez was confirmed by a Senate vote of 55-43 in September 2023, restoring a Democratic majority on the FCC. In January 2017, Sen. Cantwell voted against Trump’s nominee for Chairman of the FCC, Ajit Pai, due to his opposition to net neutrality rules. After Pai's confirmation, Sen. Cantwell sent several letters to the FCC opposing their vote to weaken net neutrality rules and introduced a bipartisan Congressional Review Act (CRA) joint resolution to reverse the rollback of net neutrality. Following the FCC's repeal of net neutrality rules, Sen. Cantwell cosponsored the 2019 Save the Internet Act , and the Net Neutrality and Broadband Justice Act in 2022. In 2006, Sen. Cantwell cosponsored a bipartisan amendment to the COPE Act to enshrine net neutrality into federal law.