Peters Floor Remarks Supporting CRA to Reinstate Net Neutrality Rules
Peters: “We need net neutrality to keep our economy dynamic, growing and innovative. We need net neutrality to keep our startups and small businesses competitive.”
Peters: “I stand here urging my colleagues to reverse this disastrous decision. We have the power to do it, and we must. All we need is one more vote.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI), spoke on the Senate floor today to urge his colleagues to support legislation that will reinstate net neutrality rules. Below is video and text of his remarks as prepared for delivery:
“Competition is the lifeblood of the American economy. Competition is what makes capitalism work, and it is competition that has established the United States as the world’s dominant economic force for a century. American competition is driven by innovation. We created the light bulb, the automobile and the internet.
“We all know the internet has revolutionized the way we communicate, learn and do business. A free and open internet allows students in Houghton, Lansing and Mount Pleasant to access research and collaborate internationally. A free and open internet allows startups in Detroit, Grand Rapids and Flint to reach customers around the globe. And a free and open internet allows a small bed and breakfast in Traverse City or Muskegon to reach millions of potential guests they couldn’t otherwise.
“While the internet has been a potent force for innovation and economic growth in recent decades, our economy has been facing some serious headwinds. I am deeply concerned that we are seeing increased business consolidation, big firms are getting bigger and we are seeing fewer new small businesses and startups.
“A recent study found that across almost 900 different industries over two thirds have become more concentrated in the past decade. The formation of new companies is falling. The number of jobs created by new businesses has fallen, even as our workforce has grown.
“We have seen a large, national internet service provider acquire a similarly large media company. We have seen the largest online retailer acquire one of our nation’s most successful grocery chains. And now we are seeing two of the four largest wireless carriers making preparations to merge. Consolidations and mergers are part of our economy, but we need rules of the road to level the playing field, help small businesses and startups compete, and drive innovation.
“This is exactly why we need net neutrality. Net neutrality protections prevented internet service providers from blocking, slowing, or prioritizing web traffic for their own financial gain.
“Without net neutrality, we could be subject to a two-tiered internet. Without net neutrality large corporations, that keep getting larger, can pay for a fast lane and buy the power to slow down or block content. Without net neutrality, consumers, small businesses and startups, can be forced into the slow lane.
“Simply put, net neutrality keeps America competitive.
“Unfortunately, net neutrality is under attack by the Trump Administration. In December, the FCC voted to repeal crucial net neutrality protections, despite the fact that 86 percent of Americans wanted the rules to stay in place. The decision to scrap these net neutrality protections is anti-consumer, anti-innovation and anti-competitive. It disadvantages small businesses, startups and families across the country.
“While the FCC vote to repeal net neutrality rules is over, we are still fighting. In fact, we are closer than ever to reinstating the rules of the road that will keep the internet free, open and competitive.
“Fifty Senators, including the entire Democratic caucus have signed a petition that will force a vote on legislation that would reinstate these crucial protections. With fifty-one votes, we could overturn the FCC’s original repeal and move one step closer to restoring these rules.
“Students, artists, advocates, entrepreneurs and other visionaries who could be inventing the future and creating the next big thing, could once again be on an equal playing field with multinational corporations when it comes to the internet. We need net neutrality to keep our economy dynamic, growing and innovative. We need net neutrality to keep our startups and small businesses competitive.
“Five months ago, I stood here in this chamber urging the FCC to abandon their dangerous vote. Now, I stand here urging my colleagues to reverse this disastrous decision. We have the power to do it, and we must. All we need is one more vote.”
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