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Senate Approves Measure Urging Congress to Restore Net Neutrality

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TRENTON – The Senate today approved a resolution sponsored by Senators Shirley K. Turner, Nilsa Cruz-Perez and Jeff Van Drew urging Congress and the President of the United States to restore the principle of “net neutrality” in federal law.

“Net neutrality” is a principle concerning the free and open internet, which specifically discourages Internet Service Providers from speeding up or slowing down internet access and discriminating against or blocking access to content, applications, or websites.

“The FCC action to allow corporations to decide how information on the internet will be accessed by the public, and at what cost, is dangerous and contrary to the values of a democratic society,” said Senator Turner. “Congress must act to ensure that the internet remains an open platform for people, businesses, and information, and make sure that internet service providers aren’t free to speed, slow or block access to content online.”

“The FCC vote to roll back net neutrality rules is an attack on our residents who rely on equal and affordable access to the internet,” said Senator Van Drew. “This dangerous move will allow large companies to control the public’s access to information and will make everyone, from our most vulnerable residents to our small business owners, subject to the impulses of telecom giants. Whether it is access to government information, to news, to banking and medical information, or to online communications, this decision has the potential to impact every aspect of our residents’ lives.

“In the information age, equal access to the internet is imperative,” said Senator Cruz-Perez. “Turning over control of the internet to corporations has the potential to restrict the ability of residents to access important information. We can’t afford a ‘Wild West’ approach to regulating the internet, and unfortunately that is what the FCC’s decision could mean. We are urging the federal government to take action and to restore net neutrality rules, for the benefit of the public.”

On December 14, 2017, the Federal Communications Commission reversed an Obama-era decision that had reclassified the services provided by Internet Services Providers (ISPs) from “information services” to “telecommunications services.” The reclassification allowed the FCC to enact and enforce rules maintaining the principle of “net neutrality,” such as preventing ISPs from creating paid “fast lanes” for certain websites and ensuring all internet traffic is treated equally. The rules were meant to ensure the free flow of information to customers, uninhibited by ISP interference or discrimination, which is necessary for the trade of ideas and commerce in a healthy free market, fostering the growth of an informed and educated public. The December 14 action revoked the authority the FCC had over an ISP’s ability to block, throttle and prioritize content over its network.

The Senate Resolution (SR25) urges the President and Congress of the United States to restore the principle of “net neutrality” in federal law, by way of a joint resolution nullifying the order passed by the FCC on December 14, 2017, which, if passed by both Houses and signed by the President, would restore the regulatory landscape that existed prior to the order’s adoption.

Alternatively, it requests that Congress take action with legislation codifying the principle of “net neutrality” in the United States Code, which would require the FCC to enforce the tenants of “net neutrality” through regulation of ISPs.

Copies of the Senate Resolution, as filed with the Secretary of State, will be sent to the President of the United States, the Majority Leader of the United States Senate, the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, and to each member of Congress elected from New Jersey.