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Higgins announces House passage of net neutrality legislation

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Thu, Apr 11th 2019 12:30 pm

Save the Internet Act codifies net neutrality protections that safeguard consumers, small businesses from anti-consumer practices by internet service providers

Congressman Brian Higgins announced passage through the House of H.R. 1644, The Save the Internet Act, by a vote of 232-190. Higgins is an original cosponsor of the legislation, which was introduced by Rep. Mike Doyle (PA-18) and cosponsored by 197 of their colleagues.

Higgins said, “This legislation protects the public from content blocking, slow-downs and prioritization pricing, keeping the net open to all and putting access and preferences in the hands of consumers, not service providers.”

Last year, the Federal Communications Commission rolled back protections initially approved in the 2015 Open Internet Order that prevented internet service providers (ISPs) from engaging in tactics such as creating internet fast lanes (also known as paid prioritization) and throttling of internet speeds, among other practices. A University of Maryland poll showed large majorities in both parties and 86% of Americans overall opposed allowing ISPs to make those decisions.

The Save the Internet Act puts those protections into law, ensuring a free and open internet by preventing ISPs from picking winners and losers, benefiting consumer choice and allowing small businesses equal and uninhibited access to the web.

In addition, H.R. 1644 gives the FCC the power to investigate consumer and business complaints and fine ISPs where necessary in order to maintain the integrity of net neutrality principles. It also strengthens rural and low-income broadband access by reviving the Connect America Fund, and restores FCC authority – discontinued last year – to provide broadband for low-income Americans, including veterans, seniors, students and disabled Americans.

By restoring the 2015 Open Internet Order, this legislation leaves untouched the Internet Tax Freedom Act, which prohibits taxation on internet access and use, including on activities like email.

The legislation is similar to Congressional Review Act legislation from the 115th Congress that garnered 182 bipartisan signatures in the House and passed the Senate.

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