Biden’s FCC argues net neutrality restoration will increase online free speech

FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel announced Wednesday that she plans to vote on rules restoring net neutrality. The vote, scheduled for April 25, would restore the 2015 internet rules adopted under Obama, which were then repealed by Trump’s FCC two years later.

Rocenworcel, a longtime advocate of net neutrality, announced plans to reverse the reversal late last year, arguing that the Trump administration had “placed the agency on the wrong side of history , on the wrong side of the law and on the wrong side of the law.” on the wrong side of the public.

On a call with media this morning, a senior FCC official echoed that sentiment, saying the Covid-19 pandemic has reaffirmed the importance of intentional broadband access. The official added that persistent threats to national security have further highlighted the need for strict monitoring.

Net neutrality is among the few facets of American life to enjoy broad bipartisan support. In 2022, a University of Maryland Public Comment Program poll found that 82% of Democrats, 65% of Republicans, and 68% of independents supported its restoration.

Opponents suggest the rules discourage investment in telecommunications technology and represent a form of government overreach. South Dakota Sen. John Thune called proposals to reinstate such rules a “big government solution — looking for a problem.” The Republican added: “The Biden FCC wants to use the idea of ​​net neutrality as cover to assert sweeping new government powers over the internet using rules designed for phone monopolies during the Great Depression. »

This morning, FCC officials emphasized that investments only increased after the rules were adopted in 2015. Speaking on behalf of the committee on Wednesday’s call, a representative added that the FCC is not interested in controlling online speech – on the contrary, they argued: such rules increase speech by taking it out of the hands of Internet service providers (ISPs).

“After the previous administration abdicated its authority over broadband services, the FCC was prevented from acting to fully secure broadband networks, protect consumer data, and ensure the Internet remains fast, open and fair,” Rosenworcel noted in a prepared statement. “A return to the FCC’s wildly popular and court-approved net neutrality standard will allow the agency to once again serve as a strong advocate for an open Internet. »

However, it was more difficult to answer questions about how to enshrine such rules. If passed, it would of course represent the third reversal in as many administrations. If Trump is re-elected in November, how can current officials guarantee that we will not experience this again? The FCC was unable to provide a satisfactory response, saying only that it had a solid legal basis and shared the hope that this would be the last time the committee would be forced to review these rules.


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