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Hawai‘i Lawmakers Call on FCC to Protect Net Neutrality

November 21, 2017, 12:17 PM HST · Updated November 22, 11:19 AM
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Net Neutrality. Maui Now graphic.

Hawaiʻi lawmakers are among those voicing concerns with the Federal Communications Commission’s plan to dismantle landmark net neutrality rules.

US Senator Brian Schatz, a Ranking Member of the Senate Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet, said, “Since its formation, we’ve seen a free and open internet grow our economy and our imaginations. But today the FCC has threatened to end the internet as we know it.”

If adopted, he said, “the FCC’s plan will change the way every American gets information, watches movies, listens to music, conducts business, and talks to their families.” By repealing basic net neutrality protections, Sen. Schatz said the FCC is handing over “full control” of the internet to providers, “leaving the American people with fewer choices and less access.”

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaiʻi also criticized the FCC, calling on the entity to protect net neutrality.

“Yet again, Chairman Pai and the FCC are rewarding pay-to-play politics, ensuring that those with money have a seat at the table, and shutting everyone else out.”

Rep. Gabbard said net neutrality protections ensure that the Internet remains open, fair, and equal for everyone. “By dismantling these protections, we turn our backs on the most fundamental First Amendment rights of our students, entrepreneurs, innovators, small businesses, and working families, and all who rely on an open Internet to level the playing field of opportunity.”

“The FCC must fulfill their responsibility to all Americans, not just big Internet Service Providers (ISPs). I urge the FCC to listen to the voices of more than 22 million public comments, including 61,707 from Hawai‘i, on net neutrality and reject this corporate attack on equality.”

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has been a long supporter of net neutrality, cosponsoring legislation to prohibit multi-tiered pricing agreements between ISPs and content providers.

She has voted against legislative efforts to undermine net neutrality, called on the FCC to maintain net neutrality rules, and urged the American people to voice their opinions during the FCC comment period.

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