Senator SHIRLEY K. TURNER
District 15 (Hunterdon and Mercer)
Urges AG to join appeal to review FCC’s order concerning “net neutrality” for being contrary to law.
CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT
A Senate Resolution urging the Attorney General to join the appeal to review the Federal Communications Commission’s order concerning “net neutrality” for being contrary to law.
Whereas, “Net neutrality” is a principle concerning the free and open Internet, which specifically discourages Internet service providers (ISPs) from speeding up or slowing down Internet access and discriminating against or blocking access to content, applications, or websites; and
Whereas, On February 26, 2015, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved an order entitled “In the Matter of Protecting and Promoting the Open Internet,” which reclassified the services provided by ISPs from “information services” under Title I of the “Communications Act of 1934,” to “telecommunications services” under Title II of the “Communications Act of 1934” (Title II); and
Whereas, This reclassification allows 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; and
Whereas, These rules 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; and
Whereas, On December 14, 2017, the FCC voted to approve an order entitled “In the Matter of Restoring Internet Freedom,” WC Docket No. 17-108 (FCC order), which rescinded the classification of ISP services under Title II, thereby revoking the regulatory authority the FCC has over an ISP’s ability to block, throttle, and prioritize content over its network; and
Whereas, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has stated that returning to a “light-touch” regulatory approach will help foster the rapid growth the country has seen in Internet technology over the last several decades and will allow for customer choice to determine whether free and open access to the Internet is something ISPs should provide; and
Whereas, However, most customers do not have a reasonable choice in deciding on which ISP to use since a few large companies control the majority of the ISP market, including the ISP market in New Jersey; and
Whereas, With the rapid shift to an information economy and the reliance of businesses on the Internet to be active participants in the market, free and open access to the Internet is important for small businesses that may not be able to afford access to the “fast lanes” reserved for businesses with the means to pay; and
Whereas, There has been public and Congressional opposition against the FCC order, with several members of Congress asserting that it was Congress’s intent with the passage of the “Telecommunications Act of 1996,” Pub.L. 104-104, to ensure the Internet remains an open platform for people, businesses, and information; and
Whereas, There is evidence that the FCC’s notice-and-comment process, required by law, concerning the FCC order was tampered with and included millions of fake comments, damaging the integrity of the process; and
Whereas, In opposition to the order, several states have introduced legislation with the purpose of preserving the principle of “net neutrality” within their borders; and
Whereas, The governors of Montana and New York have signed executive orders prohibiting state agencies from contracting with ISPs that do not adhere to the principle of “net neutrality;” and
Whereas, Twenty-two state attorneys-general have joined in filing an appeal in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to review the FCC order for: being arbitrary, capricious, and an abuse of discretion within the meaning of the federal Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. s.701 et seq.; violating federal law, including, but not limited to, the United States Constitution, the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, and FCC regulations promulgated thereunder; conflicting with the notice-and-comment rulemaking requirements of 5 U.S.C. s.553; and it otherwise being contrary to law; and
Whereas, It is altogether fitting and proper, and in the public interest, that this House urge the Attorney General to join the appeal pending before the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to review the FCC order; now, therefore,
Be It Resolved by the Senate of the State of New Jersey:
1. This House respectfully urges New Jersey’s Attorney General to join the appeal, State of New York, et al. v. Federal Communications Commission, et al., No. 18-1013, DC Cir., to review “In the Matter of Restoring Internet Freedom,” WC Docket No. 17-108, for being contrary to law.
2. Copies of this resolution, as filed with the Secretary of State, shall be transmitted by the Secretary of the Senate to New Jersey’s Attorney General.
This Senate resolution urges the Attorney General to join 22 state attorneys-general in the appeal filed in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to review for being contrary to law the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) order revoking the FCC’s authority to enforce the principle of “net neutrality.” “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.