Rep. Zoe Lofgren on FCC’S Proposed Rules on Net Neutrality

April 25, 2014
Press Release
SAN JOSE, CA – Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), a senior Member of the House Judiciary Committee, issued the following statement regarding Net Neutrality and the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) draft Open Internet Notice of Proposed Rulemaking:
"From the beginning, the internet and its users have flourished with ‘net neutrality.'  Internet providers can't accelerate content for a price or discriminate against content that did not pay.  Unlike radio and television, users of the system can decide for themselves what they want to see and do on the internet.
"Because of net neutrality, internet providers also cannot disadvantage disruptive newcomers by erecting barriers to utilizing the internet.  Innovators, and therefore consumers, benefit because big companies can't prevent startups from competing on the internet.  
"Press reports about the FCC's proposal spark serious concerns that this basic, fundamental character of the internet may be changed.  Allowing internet providers to charge fees to provide the equivalent of a ‘fast lane,' as the FCC is reported to propose, would alter the internet as we know it.  That's because you cannot provide priority to one service provider without degrading or slowing access to others.
"Any FCC proposal eliminating net neutrality would be a paradigm shift.  It would transform the internet so providers become gatekeepers who control what internet users can do.  It would give an unprecedented advantage to content providers who can afford to pay the new tolls.  It would leave upstart innovators stifled at the starting line instead of competing online. 
"Without net neutrality there will be harm to consumers and to innovation.  Free speech and our economy will be harmed as the incredible expansion and growth that have thrived in an open net are stunted.   
"The FCC's proposal is also contrary to what President Obama promised our country when he ran for President.  Many will now look to the President to act to prevent the catastrophic outcomes that an FCC announcement may signal.  That's because the idea of net neutrality is even more important today, where many of our internet access providers have merged with the very content they provide access to, giving them an even greater incentive to prioritize some content over others.  
"There is a key difference between charging a premium for faster speed for service for all content as opposed to restricting the equality that has existed on the Internet for expression, innovation and commerce.  I urge those who value the freedom that the internet allows today to also contact the FCC to voice strong objection to any dilution of net neutrality and any dilution to net freedom."
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