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Sen. Franken’s Statement on FCC’s Net Neutrality Rule

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

 Today, U.S. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) issued the following statement about the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) net neutrality regulations:

"The FCC's action today is simply inadequate to protect consumers or preserve the free and open Internet.  I am particularly disappointed to learn that the order will not specifically ban paid prioritization, allowing big companies to pay for a fast lane on the Internet and abandoning the foundation of net neutrality.  The rule also contains almost no protections for mobile broadband service, remaining silent on the blocking of content, applications, and devices.  Wireless technology is the future of the Internet, and for many rural Minnesotans, it's often the only choice for broadband.

"I appreciate the efforts of Commissioners Michael Copps and Mignon Clyburn, and of net neutrality advocates nationwide, who have all worked tirelessly to improve this rule.  Although it doesn't go far enough, I commend the Commission for listening to our concerns and making a number of improvements since the draft order was circulated.  I'm particularly encouraged by the inclusion of language cautioning that the FCC's silence on certain kinds of discriminatory behavior by wireless carriers doesn't tacitly condone it.  While this is far from adequate, it stops us from taking a step backward.  

"The FCC must now vigorously enforce what is in the new order and keep its promise of addressing the wireless issue in the near future.  I will continue to hold the agency's feet to the fire, ensuring it uses its full authority to keep the Internet free and open.  And going forward, I will be looking at all legislative and administrative options to strengthen these protections."

Sen. Franken has long been a vocal proponent of net neutrality since he first spoke out on the issue in his questioning of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor during her confirmation hearings in July 2009. In August of 2010, he delivered a speech at an event in Minneapolis hosted by the nonprofit organization Free Press, where he called net neutrality "the First Amendment issue of our time," which you can read here.  He recently delivered a speech on the Senate floor outlining his concerns about the FCC's proposal, which you can find here, and also authored an Op-Ed on the subject for the Huffington Post, which you can read here.

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