Senator Lankford Opposes Net Neutrality Regulations on Senate Floor
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WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today delivered a floor speech in opposition to burdensome net neutrality regulations and a vote in the Senate on the Net Neutrality Congressional Review Act (S.J.Res.52). A CRA permits Congress to overturn an agency rule within 60 legislative days after an agency has submitted the rule to Congress, with a simple majority vote. Today’s CRA aimed to reverse a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) decision, in December 2017, to repeal the 2015 Open Internet Order that created net neutrality regulations.
(0:45-1:50) For 20 years, the internet functioned under a very clear set of rules. The Federal Trade Commission had a set of rules for both content providers and for the fiber, the internet service providers. A clear set of rules. They couldn’t violate anti-trade practices. They couldn’t do monopolies. They couldn’t violate the basic rules of commerce. It was a very clear set of rules. And then two years ago, the FCC…. decided they wanted to regulate, not the content and the internet service providers, just the internet service providers. So the FCC, in an unprecedented ruling, that had already gone to court multiple times and failed, grabbed the regulatory control from the FTC and said we’ll take the internet service providers and we’ll manage them, and you keep the content folks.
(1:52-2:27) That’s the fight that we’re in right now. It’s the funniest thing to me to be in a conversation about net neutrality because the implication is the internet will not be free if the government doesn’t regulate it with this particular entity, the FCC. When I ask people: would it be okay if the government regulated with the FTC, the Federal Trade Commission, most people say, well, that would be fine too. Well, good, because that’s the way it has been for 20 years. For 20 years there’s been one set of rules on the super highway of the internet – the Federal Trade Commission.
(3:27-4:56) Over the past two years, America has been drawn into a fight between two sets of megacompanies. Google and Facebook and Netflix are at war with AT&T and Comcast and all the major internet service providers. You’ve got the content folks on the web fighting with the internet service providers that actually provide the fiber to connect the content. They’re fighting over their business, and the way the content providers have worded it is they’ve said we want the internet to be neutral. We don’t want to have to have customers pay more for certain content, and we don’t want the internet service providers to charge more based on that content. While at the whole time, the content folks are charging people for the type of content. They’re literally arguing and saying we don’t want them to do what we do every single day. What Google does every day, what Facebook does every day. In fact, they fight about the fact that they don’t want to filter out content — we don’t want internet service providers to filter out content, when of late Facebook seems to put out every week, a new release about how they’re filtering content from places that they don’t like. Here’s what we really want. A fair, flat playing field for everyone. Everyone that wants to do free speech can do free speech on the internet.