Wisconsin senators differ on controversial Net Neutrality repeal
U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., opposes the controversial repeal of net neutrality.Image By: Katie Scheidt
With the Federal Communications Commission set to repeal Net Neutrality rules, Wisconsin’s U.S. Senators have weighed in with sharply different stances.
In 2015, the FCC rules prohibiting internet service providers from offering faster speeds and access to specific websites and applications that are willing to pay more. These “Net Neutrality” measures would allow individuals to share and obtain information without obstruction, in order to keep the internet free and available.
Essentially, the regulations prohibit major internet service providers — including AT&T, Comcast, Verizon, and Spectrum — from speeding up or slowing down services and blocking any usable content, websites, or applications.
With the transition to the Trump administration this past January, Republicans gained control of the FCC. Many conservatives, including U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., support eliminating Net Neutrality regulations, saying it will replicate the reality of the current marketplace.
“Let's say in your neighborhood you got a creek dividing you. There's a group of neighbors that say, 'you know, let's pool our resources together and let's invest in a bridge, we can use it,' but then you got a local government saying, 'Well if you're gonna build that bridge we're gonna let these millions of other people go over that bridge’… and telling them how they have to utilize their own investment," Johnson said in his podcast, earlier this year.
At the same time, millions of people have protested and written to lawmakers in support of Net Neutrality rules. Their main concern is that without the current regulations the richest individuals would have high speed access, while everyone else would receive slower access. U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., has expressed this viewpoint, as have most other Democrats in the Senate.
“We must work to ensure that the internet does not become a two-tiered system, with fast lanes for some and slow lanes for others." Baldwin said in a statement.
Major broadband service companies argue that current statutes make them liable for invasive government acquiescence, stopping them from investing time and money on enhancing their services.
The FCC is in talks to repeal the Net Neutrality regulations three weeks from today.Subscribe to The Daily Cardinal Newsletter