Sanders Welcomes FCC Turnabout on Net Neutrality

WASHINGTON, Feb. 4 – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) welcomed today’s proposal by the Federal Communications Commission to fundamentally change the way it regulates high-speed Internet service.

The new approach came after a torrent of criticism – including some 50,000 emails submitted through Sanders’ website – objecting to an earlier FCC proposal to divide the Internet into fast and slow lanes.

“This is a victory for consumers and entrepreneurs,” Sanders said of the latest proposal. “The proposal would ensure that the Internet remains a space for the open exchange of ideas and information, free of discrimination and corporate control.”

Under the new proposal outlined by FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, the commission would regulate broadband providers as a public utility. The move would protect a concept popularly known as net neutrality, the idea that Internet service providers should be a neutral gateway to everything on the Internet.

The earlier FCC proposal was opposed by members of Congress, President Barack Obama and the overwhelming majority of a record 3.9 million Americans who submitted comments to the commission. “I asked Americans to share their views with the FCC through my website.  Nearly 50,000 people submitted comments and told the FCC loudly and clearly to protect net neutrality,” Sanders said.

The senator also had written a letter to Wheeler criticizing last summer’s proposal to adopt a system that would let providers impose fees for faster service. “Ending net neutrality would be a disaster for our country, for small businesses and for the free flow of ideas.”