Washington, D.C.– Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva today released the following statement on the urgent need for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to take affirmative steps to protect and extend free Internet communication for the public:
“The recent announcement that Google and Verizon believe Internet and wireless providers should decide what kinds of online content they allow customers to access should spur the FCC to immediate action. As it stands, Internet and phone service providers cannot and must not discriminate between different kinds of online content and applications. The Internet has succeeded precisely because it’s the ultimate level playing field. You can access the sites and download the programs you want regardless of which company handles your Internet connection.
The Google/Verizon proposal threatens to kill the free flow of information on the Internet. It would allow a given provider to decide not to grant access to online political resources with which it disagrees. It would allow a company allied with a particular television network to grant high-quality access only to that network’s content, degrading the speed and quality of other networks’ Web sites. This kind of corporate meddling is not what makes the Internet the great engine of innovation and progress that it is.
In today’s world, social movements and calls to action often begin on the Internet. The Internet has opened our political process to millions of people and has become a fundamental part of our democratic landscape. It allows us to rapidly organize and exchange ideas and information. It gives us the opportunity to better communicate with our elected officials and our fellow citizens. It allows us to work together to influence outcomes and have a meaningful impact on public policy.
Moreover, the Internet is the last refuge of our democracy against corporate domination of the media – our last refuge for the free exchange of ideas and information. We cannot return to the days when powerful corporate interests control the story, the medium and the message. The Internet must remain in the hands of the people.
In order to make sure that happens, all the FCC has to do is reclassify broadband as a ‘telecommunications’ service – which it clearly is – instead of an ‘informational’ service, which was the term used by the Bush administration for political reasons. This single decision will protect every American who enjoys the Internet as it is. It is a decision that should be made sooner rather than later.”