Sen. Roger Wicker, a Republican from Mississippi, and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, a Democrat from Arizona, are pushing past partisanship “to encourage a fact-based, bipartisan dialogue and develop a compromise that will finally resolve [the] infinite loop on net neutrality.” In a co-authored opinion piece for USA Today, Sen. Wicker and Sen. Sinema recently wrote:
“Most people believe telecommunications proposals should protect consumers, increase transparency, promote broader access to internet services, and ensure internet providers treat content from different sources fairly, all while spurring innovation and investment. We have started with these principles as the base for our work.”
Their approach of focusing on common ground is refreshing. As they point out, most “common-sense proposals for a compromise on net neutrality to protect Americans are met with fear mongering, political rhetoric and demands for ideological purity — on both sides of the aisle.”
“Doom and Gloom” has been the name of the game for many net neutrality proponents. But contrary to their predictions, the internet did not come to an end or even skip a beat when the temporary Title II classification of broadband was repealed. Without Title II, your internet service provider is not stopping you “from ordering Domino’s online — by slowing down your connection or crashing your browser,” as ACLU claimed. And you’re not having to pay $1.99 per Google search, as Banksy warned.
The jig is up. Title II isn’t needed to preserve the free and open internet, and Title II and net neutrality are not inextricably linked. Through the enactment of bipartisan legislation, Congress can enshrine into law the core principles of an open internet AND designate broadband as a Title I information service, forevermore, so broadband providers are not subject to Title II “common carrier” laws and regulations that discourage infrastructure investment and network improvements. Bipartisan legislation can provide the “clear rules that promote future investment and prevent blocking, throttling and paid prioritization of lawful Internet traffic,” for which the senators call.
We applaud Senators Wicker and Sinema for putting aside their differences, compromising, and making progress toward a bipartisan solution to protect the open internet. Their efforts to shift the paradigm of Congress “spend[ing] time fighting rather than fixing this challenge” is exactly what internet users want and need. It’s time to resolve the net neutrality debate, once and for all.