Supporting Net Neutrality - Office of Councilmember Brianne K. Nadeau
A PROPOSED RESOLUTION
IN THE COUNCIL OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
To declare the sense of the Council that the District of Columbia strongly opposes the repeal of Net Neutrality Rules as implemented by the Federal Communications Commission in 2015 because it would cause harm to a free and open Internet, infringe on First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and equal access to information, and create an uneven playing field for small businesses.
RESOLVED, BY THE COUNCIL OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, That this resolution may be cited as the “Sense of the Council Opposing the Repeal of Net Neutrality Rules Resolution of 2017”.
Sec. 2. The Council finds that:
(1) “Net Neutrality” is the principle that Internet service providers (ISPs) should enable access to all content and applications, regardless of the source, without favoring or blocking particular products or websites.
(2) The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) promulgated rules in 2015 to protect Net Neutrality and the ability of the public to access information freely online, regardless of content, and without favoring the content of any particular ISP over a competitor’s ISP.
(3) The Net Neutrality Rules prevented ISPs from engaging in behaviors that harm internet openness such as:
(a) Blocking access to lawful content, applications, services or non-harmful devices (“blocking”);
(b) Targeting lawful Internet traffic to be delivered at a slower rate than other traffic (“throttling”); and
(c) Favoring some Internet traffic in exchange for consideration or any kind of prioritizing the content or services of affiliates of the ISPs (“paid prioritization”).
(4) On December 14, 2017, the FCC voted on a plan titled “Restoring Internet Freedom” (RIF), which would dismantle Net Neutrality Rules that were established to protect and maintain open and unfettered access to lawful content on the Internet.
(5) The RIF will now place the duty on ISPs to police themselves by notifying the public when they have blocked sites, throttled content or collected fees to prioritized content when all of these activities were previously prohibited.
(6) Equal and unfettered access to Internet services is essential for residents, small businesses, advocacy groups, and government agencies who rely on the Internet to access vital information and run their operations.
(7) The Council believes that a free, fair, and open Internet leads to economic growth and is an essential public utility that everyone should have access to in today’s digital age.
(8) The District of Columbia is home to a thriving start-up technology community that fosters inclusion and diversity, with programs such as the Inclusive Innovation Incubator in partnership with Howard University.
(9) The RIF will allow ISPs to throttle service, selectively block access to information, and create paid prioritization pricing structures that protect large corporations at the expense of small businesses, consumers, and our city’s goal of fostering diversity in the District’s burgeoning technology sector.
(10) The RIF will inevitably silence free speech, block equal access to information (e.g. music, social media, and political content), and enable ISPs to discriminate and censor with impunity.
Sec. 3. It is the sense of the Council that:
(1) The Council strongly supports restoring Net Neutrality Rules that will protect all District residents and businesses from predatory practices of the nation’s broadband providers and preserve equal access to the Internet.
(2) The Council strongly encourages Congress to block the repeal of Net Neutrality Rules from taking effect and supports any future efforts to codify a free, fair and open Internet.
(3) The Council strongly supports efforts of the Office of the Attorney General to protect District residents and businesses from the effects that will hamper the free flow of the Internet.
Sec. 4. The Council shall transmit a copy of this resolution, upon its adoption, to the Mayor, the City Administrator, and the Office of the Attorney General.
Sec. 5. This resolution shall take effect immediately upon the first date of publication in the District of Columbia Register.