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Ahead of unveiling of FCC plans to scrap Net Neutrality, Congress urged to hold oversight hearings into FCC Chair Ajit Pai’s proposals

House and Senate leaders warned about the loss of Net Neutrality as Pai is widely expected to announce plans to dismantle common carriage safeguards this week

April 26, 2017Leaders in Congress are being urged to hold oversight hearings into attempts by Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Ajit Pai to undo Net Neutrality safeguards for U.S. businesses and consumers. 21 organizations have signed an open letter to the House and Senate Commerce committees, warning that Pai’s plan is not only unworkable, but would be “devastating for Internet freedom, economic opportunity, and innovation.”

Organized by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), the appeal to Congress comes as Pai is poised to start scrapping Net Neutrality rules that were passed in 2015 with support from millions of Americans. Last week, Canada significantly strengthened its own Net Neutrality safeguards and the digital rights group OpenMedia, which led the fight for Net Neutrality north of the border and which supports the EFF initiative, says Pai’s plan risks American businesses falling behind their northern counterparts.

“Net Neutrality is essential to safeguard innovation, entrepreneurship, and our basic liberties online,” said OpenMedia’s campaigns director Josh Tabish. “But if Ajit Pai gets his way and the U.S. effectively abandons Net Neutrality, that will stifle innovation and inward investment, and place U.S. businesses at a significant competitive disadvantage.”

Tabish continued: “Sadly, it’s clear that Ajit Pai is putting the narrow interests of a small handful of powerful telecom giants, ahead of the interests of the countless businesses and millions of consumers who rely on Net Neutrality each and every day. Net Neutrality is part of what makes America’s Internet great, and that’s why we’re asking House and Senate leaders from both parties to hold oversight hearings to ensure the interests of their constituents are upheld.”

It is widely expected that Pai will announce his plans to scrap the Net Neutrality rules by circulating a notice of proposed rulemaking this Thursday in advance of the FCC’s May 18 open meeting, where Commissioners will be asked to vote on Pai’s proposal.

Groups signing on to the EFF’s letter include: American Library Association, Association of College & Research Libraries, Center for Media Justice, Color of Change, Common Cause, Daily Kos, Demand Progress, Faithful Internet, Fight for the Future, Free Press Action Fund, Free Software Foundation, Media Mobilizing Project, New America’s Open Technology Institute, OpenMedia, Open MIC, Public Knowledge, United Church of Christ, OC Inc., Writers Guild of America, West, Writers Guild of America, East, 18MillionRising.org

Over 33,000 Americans are speaking up for Net Neutrality at act.openmedia.org/DefendTheInternet

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