More than two years after the Federal Communications Commission repealed net-neutrality rules, it’s past time for lawmakers in Congress to come together and work across party lines to permanently protect the open internet. Broadband providers and big platforms shouldn’t be able to block or throttle your internet traffic. And startups and small tech companies need to know we’ll be able to reach our customers online without having to pay extra to avoid getting stuck in an online “slow lane.”
Unfortunately, the net-neutrality debate in Congress has been gridlocked for years. One side of the aisle has backed a proposal that would pair net-neutrality protections with a more controversial plan to regulate broadband services under telephone utility rules from the 1930s. This other side’s approach, which experts warn could slow down broadband infrastructure investment, has been declared “dead on arrival.”
The answer is obvious: write clear, enforceable net-neutrality protections into law, without the baggage and controversy of the utility reclassification.
This kind of common-sense solution would require pragmatists in both parties to buck the party line and work together. I take pride in working with all of my colleagues in the House of Representatives here in Delaware, and I’ve seen firsthand how policies are improved by doing so. This issue is too important just to accept failure and fight over who is to blame.
Given their history of bi-partisanship, I am hopeful that Sen. Coons and Sen. Carper will lead colleagues in both parties to find a bipartisan solution that permanently protects the open internet.
State Rep. Mike Smith is a Republican member of the Delaware House of Representative, representing District 22 (Pike Creek Valley).