The communications and technology sector is among the most competitive and innovative of our economy. Small businesses across Texas thrive off a free and open Internet. From fiber optics to 4G wireless services, the smartphone to the tablet and the connected TV, the telecommunications industry has been making the impossible, possible, while at the same time creating high-quality jobs.
On December 14, 2017, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted 3-2 along party lines to repeal the Obama-era net neutrality regulations that prohibited large broadband and wireless internet service providers from selling faster delivery of certain data, slowed speeds for specific video streams and other content, and blocked or otherwise discriminated against any legal online material. Even though this vote occurred in December of 2017, internet providers will be required to disclose their online practices, with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) policing them for anti-competitive practices.
To be clear, Americans’ data is regulated under Section 222 of Title 47 of the U.S. Code; and in case you were not aware, the FTC has previous experience overseeing consumer online-privacy rights and has been able to enhance innovation and jobs in its prior competitive state. The FTC is the nation’s premier consumer protection agency, and until the FCC stripped it of jurisdiction over Internet service providers in 2015, the FTC was responsible for policing digital privacy and consumer protection across the entire online ecosystem. Repealing the net neutrality regulations simply returns oversight to the FTC.
In addition, I would like you to know that I am a co-sponsor of H.R. 4682, the Open Internet Preservation Act, which was introduced by Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN). This legislation would prohibit blocking or impairment of lawful internet traffic and mandate that broadband service be considered an information service. As your Member of Congress, I believe that the internet should be regulated by Congress, and not by unelected bureaucrats, and this bill that I have co-sponsored will ensure that, while preserving a free and open internet for all.