Calls for real, bipartisan net neutrality solutions that protect consumers without excessive government regulation
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Representative Greg Walden (R-Hood River) is continuing to call for net neutrality solutions that preserve a free and open internet for consumers without allowing a federal government takeover of the internet, as Congressional Democrats are proposing. Speaking in opposition to a Democrat plan to give the federal government near unlimited authority to regulate, tax, and control the internet, Walden said that the bill was a missed opportunity to bring real, bipartisan net neutrality protections to consumers.
“Republicans and Democrats agree more than they disagree on the key net neutrality parameters that protect a free and open internet for consumers. The net neutrality ‘bright line’ rules Republicans support are simple and relatively easy to understand. No blocking. No throttling. No paid prioritization. Period,” said Walden. “Unfortunately, for the last few years Democrats have caved into the misguided idea that only putting unelected bureaucrats in charge of every facet of the internet is the answer. And they know what all Americans know, the bill before us today is opposed by the President and will not become law.”
Walden today voted against a Democrat bill that would regulate the internet under Title II of the Communications Act, which was originally used to govern monopoly telephone companies in the 1930s. The legislation Walden voted against reinstates the outdated restrictions over the internet that were first implemented by the Obama Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in 2015. In an op-ed published last week, Walden outlined his concerns about the impact of Title II on small internet service providers (ISPs) and their ability to expand broadband into rural communities.
“In a rural district like mine in eastern Oregon, Title II inhibited the ability of small ISPs to expand broadband to underserved communities, saddling these small businesses with onerous reporting requirements that shifted their focus from their customers to new, expensive regulatory interference,” Walden said in the op-ed.
In February, Walden invited Joe Franell, Chief Executive Officer of Eastern Oregon Telecom based in Hermiston, Oregon, to testify before the Energy and Commerce Committee about how Title II regulations affected his business and his customers. “The application of Title II as part of net neutrality had a dramatic chilling effect on rural telecommunication in the Pacific Northwest,” Franell said in his testimony.
Walden has introduced legislation that codifies into law permanent prohibitions on blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization for internet traffic, and requires that ISPs be transparent in their network management practices and prices. Walden’s legislation reaffirms longstanding, bipartisan agreements on net neutrality protections, without imposing Title II regulations over the internet.
Walden said that putting unelected bureaucrats in control of the internet through Title II regulations is not necessary to protect consumers online.
“The fact is, we can permanently address blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization in a bipartisan way because we all believe in an open and free internet. We believe in net neutrality. But, net neutrality is not Title II, near limitless government management of the internet,” said Walden. “Net neutrality does not need the harmful, heavy-handed approach of Title II. Net neutrality does not require a government takeover of the internet.”
Press release provided from the Office of US Representative Greg Walden of Oregon’s 2nd District.