Democratic U.S. Senator for Ohio Sherrod Brown joined 27 colleagues in Washington, D.C. on Monday to ask for a delay on a Dec. 14 vote by the Federal Communications Commission to roll back net neutrality rules for more than 11 million Ohioans, among more than 300 million other Americans.
Spearheaded by Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), the group signed a letter addressed to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, citing their deep concern over the proposed dismantling of current consumer protections, set in place during the Obama administration in 2015. Specifically the letter asks for a full investigation into what the senators believe are inaccuracies and fraudulent misinformation the proposed changes are based on.
The other senators who signed the letter include Cory Booker (N.J.) Diane Feinstein (Calif.), Chuck Schumer (N.Y.), Tim Kaine (Va.), Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), Catherine Cortez Masto (N.Y.), Jack Reed (R.I.), and Tammy Duckworth (Ill.). All were Democrats, plus independents Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Angus King of Maine.
The letter to Chairman Pai, who is serving under the Trump administration, also points out 50,000 net neutrality consumer complaints may have been left out of the public record.
If the vote passes, it will ultimately give a green light to internet service providers like AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon to block, throttle, slow, or favor certain internet content. There are also worries that this vote will threaten free speech, quash innovation by small tech companies and even smaller start-ups, increase costs to consumers, and otherwise open a Pandora’s Box for massive abuse and a power grab by the tech giants.