Statement by Michael Copps, Special Advisor to Common Cause’s Media and Democracy Reform Initiative, on Today’s Internet Rulemaking Hearing at the Federal Communications Commission
“This is an alarming day for anyone who treasures a free and open Internet – which should be all of us. The FCC could have moved decisively to guarantee that the Internet remains an open platform for free expression and the exchange of democracy-sustaining communications. Instead, the Commission again left broadband users without the protections they deserve.
“Let’s be clear. Any proposal to allow fast lanes for the few is emphatically not net neutrality. The clear common-sense prerequisite for an Open Internet is Title II reclassification, guaranteeing the agency’s authority to protect consumers and ensure free speech online.
“The FCC should conduct public hearings on the matter outside of Washington, DC, so it can hear from the people who will have to live with the decisions it makes at this pivotal moment for the future of the Internet. It’s no exaggeration to say that every American has a stake in its deliberations.
“The presumptions in this item appear little different from what was reported about the initial draft. It opens a door to Title II classification but still tilts in favor of the weak legal framework that so far has gotten us nowhere. It opens a door to wireless being covered by net neutrality, but still retains the scope of the earlier rules which excluded wireless. And it still relies too much on porous metrics — like what is “commercially reasonable” — that ISPs can drive an 18-wheeler through. Today should have been about adopting strong safeguards, enforceable rules, and sound legal footings. It wasn’t. So it will take lots of citizens speaking out now to tell the FCC it is headed in the wrong direction.”