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FCC Chairman defends killing net neutrality as Democrats push to restore rules

FILE - In this Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017, file photo, a person with a smartphone enters the Federal Communications Commission building in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

WASHINGTON (SBG) - More than a year after the Federal Communications Commission killed net neutrality rules, the internet as we know it, hasn’t changed much. But Democrats predict that the internet is going to get worse, unless net neutrality is restored.

On Wednesday, Democrats in the House and Senate introduced legislation called the “Save the Internet Act” that they say will bring back a free and open internet.

“When we talk about saving the internet, we’re talking about saving the marketplace, we are talking about saving our democracy. It’s that important of an issue, net neutrality,” said Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee.

Net neutrality was first put in place in 2015 under the Obama Administration. It was designed to have internet service providers (ISPs) –like Verizon, Comcast, and AT&T— treat all content on the web the same. ISPs could not block, slow down, or give faster access to websites.

In December 2017, the FCC, led-by Chairman Ajit Pai, repealed the net neutrality rules. Pai argued that if the rules stayed in place it would cripple innovation.

The move has prompted public outcry.

“Saving the internet has been a grassroots movement if there ever was one,” said Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) at the press conference Wednesday. “Average folks understand that they do not want their costs of using the internet to go up. They do not want their freedom to be constricted, if they should decide to start up a business.

But the FCC Chairman defended the rollback, adding that reinstating the rules would hurt consumers.

“The hysterical predictions of doom that were made in December of 2017, when we made our decision, have not come true. The internet hasn’t ended, you don’t have to pay $5 dollars per tweet,” said Chairman Pai. “Speeds on the internet have gotten 40 percent faster from December 2017 to December 2018. More Americans were connected with fiber last year than any previous year.”

About two dozen states and several big technology companies have sued the FCC for repealing net neutrality.

The bill to restore the rules is likely to pass in the democratic-controlled House, but will face and uphill battle in the Senate.

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