The FCC is about to repeal net neutrality. Here’s why Congress should stop them.

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[Commentary] In the rush to eliminate network neutrality protections, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai failed to hold a single public hearing, and has ignored the chorus of entrepreneurs, investors, businesses and citizens asking him to stop. Citizens across the political spectrum are now looking to their elected representatives to speak out on their behalf and call on Chairman Pai to cancel the vote. Chairman Pai’s plan is a radical break from FCC history and a fundamental departure from how the Internet has operated for the past 30 years.

Members of Congress care about an open Internet and what their constituents think, and since they oversee the FCC, they have the power to stop him. Already, three members of Maine’s four-member congressional delegation, including Sens Susan Collins (R-ME) and Angus King (I-ME), have spoken out in opposition to Chairman Pai’s proposal. Congressional pressure has stopped the FCC before. In the past, the FCC has responded to pressure from Congress by choosing not to vote on previously circulated draft orders. Just last year, for example, the FCC tabled a proposed change to cable set top box rules after the draft order had been circulated. 

For the first time in history, ISPs will be allowed to interfere with these free markets, limiting choice, distorting competition and raising the price of doing business for everyone, including entrepreneurs and small businesses. And for the first time in history, the FCC will be powerless to stop them. Only Congress can prevent this from happening.

[Barbara van Schewick is a Law Professor at Stanford Law School, and the Director of the Stanford Center for Internet and Society.]


The FCC is about to repeal net neutrality. Here’s why Congress should stop them.