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“This decision by the FCC essentially creates a pay-to-play system that puts our first amendment rights of free speech and press at risk,” said Sen Wielechowski. “Without net neutrality protections, internet services providers can lawfully charge customers high rates to access different websites, music and video downloads and even block website access altogether. I am encouraged the Senate saw the importance of sustaining a free and open internet. Hopefully our federal delegation and Congress will too.”The FCC made their decision to repeal net neutrality on December 14, 2017, with a vote of 3-2. A diverse group of consumer, media, technology, library, arts, civil liberties, and civil rights organizations have come together opposing the FCC’s decision. Some of those organizations include the American Library Association, the Association of College and Research Libraries, the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the National Coalition Against Censorship, the National Consumer Law Center, and the National Organization for Women.
“There are currently 50 votes to overturn net neutrality in the U.S. Senate and our Congressional delegation could be the deciding vote on this important issue,” said Sen. Wielechowski. “It was important for the Alaska legislature to weigh in and I’m glad we did so in a bipartisan manner.”
“A free and open internet is essential for all Alaskans and Alaska businesses. Few of us have a choice in our internet service provider, particularly in rural Alaska, giving us no recourse without net neutrality ensuring all content is treated fairly,” said Senator Tom Begich (D-Anchorage). “We are at their whim, should they decide to throttle, block, or stifle content. We cannot stand by and see these safeguards stripped away.”
Senator Wielechowski and Senator Begich have sponsored legislation surrounding the repeal of net neutrality. Both SJR 12 by Sen Wielechowski and SB 160 by Sen Begich are in the State Affairs Committee.