Peters Floor Remarks on Need to Protect Net Neutrality

Peters: “Repealing net neutrality is anti-innovation. Repealing net neutrality is anti-competition. And repealing net neutrality is anti-consumer.”

WASHINGTON, D.C. U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI) spoke on the Senate floor today in opposition to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) plans to roll back net neutrality protections that keep the internet open and free for consumers and small businesses. Below is video and text of his remarks as prepared for delivery:

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“There are a handful of innovations in recent centuries that have redefined the United States, and the world. The cotton gin, railroads, electricity and the automobile are just a few examples. 

“However – without question – broadband internet is one of the defining innovations of our time.

“Broadband internet connects both rural and urban communities to vital services like telemedicine, educational resources, and international commerce. Broadband internet is absolutely essential for communication in the modern era, it lets us keep in touch with our loved ones – no matter where they live – and has boosted productivity across industries. And perhaps most importantly, broadband internet revolutionized our economy and led to the creation of millions of jobs.

“The ability to instantly reach consumers wherever they live has allowed American small businesses and startups to compete with large, global corporations in a way that would have been unimaginable just a couple decades ago.

“Michigan is home to over 850,000 small businesses, and a growing number of startups. The new ideas and creative solutions they generate put America on the cutting edge of a global and interconnected economy. Michigan small businesses are able to compete and innovate because of the free and open structure of the internet, but unfortunately these opportunities are at risk.

“Tomorrow, the FCC will vote to eliminate current net neutrality protections that stop large corporations from stifling small businesses and harming the American people. The FCC is wrong, and they should keep the current protections in place.

“The current rules, which I have consistently supported, prevent internet service providers from blocking, slowing or prioritizing web traffic for their own financial gain at the expense of small businesses and everyday internet users.

“The FCC’s actions to roll back these protections could usher in a new era of the two tiered internet, one for large corporations that can pay for the fast lane, and a slow lane for the rest of us. This will allow internet service providers and multi-national corporations to compete unfairly against startups, slowing down their traffic, and playing gatekeeper to their potential customers.

“Let me be clear, repealing net neutrality is anti-innovation. Repealing net neutrality is anti-competition. And repealing net neutrality is anti-consumer.

“The FCC should not consider this proposal tomorrow to degrade Internet service, especially during a time when over 20 million households in rural America – including far too many in Michigan – still lack access to high-speed broadband in the first place.

“The FCC has a lot of work to do to close the digital divide, and repealing net neutrality is taking our country backwards. If the Internet doesn’t work for growing small businesses and startups, our economy will be hurt for generations to come.

“High-speed broadband in the 21st century is every bit as vital as electricity was in the 20th century, all Americans deserve access, regardless of their income or zip code.

“We accomplished the goal of bringing electricity to every household in the country, even in the most rural areas, by making it a national priority. We cannot put a handful of multinational corporations ahead of the students, artists, advocates, entrepreneurs and other visionaries who could be inventing the future and creating the next big thing.

“The FCC should call off this dangerous vote and instead work to ensure the Internet remains a hub of entrepreneurship, creativity, and competition.”