February 13, 2015
Thank you for sharing your concerns about the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) potential reclassification of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and its impact on broadband internet services. It’s always good to hear from you, as always.
The FCC is currently considering a proposal to reclassify ISPs as common carriers, a distinction stipulated in the Communications Act of 1934. Under Title II of the Communications Act, ISPs would be prohibited from discriminating in practices, regulations, charges, and services. This would provide the FCC with the authority to impose rules on broadband internet services presently used to regulate telephone companies.
The U.S. enjoys some degree of net neutrality today, yet the issue is an important topic in the current debate over telecommunications reform. As you may know, net neutrality or, the Open Internet Order as the FCC calls it, is the principle that ISPs and governments should treat all data on the Internet equally. In January, the U.S. Court of Appeals dismissed federal rules requiring broadband providers to treat all Internet traffic equally. The court’s decision held that the FCC exceeded its authority to regulate how broadband internet service providers manage network traffic.
I understand your concerns about some internet service providers’ actions and restrictions on access to online content. You can be sure that I support a free and open internet. As such, I will continue to monitor this issue as it develops in the coming weeks and months. However, I believe that more harm could come from intrusive attempts by Washington bureaucrats to manage sectors of our economy—through excessive federal regulation of ISPs, for instance—than from mutual, contractual exchanges between businesses and customers.
I hope you will continue to keep me informed of your opinion. A well-functioning republic depends on active citizens to inform their elected representatives of issues of concern and to hold elected officials accountable. I’m always grateful to hear from my fellow citizens on matters of public policy. These communications can be both insightful and useful as I work to represent you, and I hope that you will contact me by phone or email to inform me of your opinions.
I’m truly honored to serve as your Senator—please know that your interests and affairs have my unceasing attention. Always feel free to call my office at (202) 224-2353 visit www.cotton.senate.gov