Gov. Jay Inslee has sent a letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) urging rejection of the proposal to repeal net neutrality and undermine the open foundation of the internet.
“Net neutrality principles ensure large corporations are never in the position of deterring innovation, obstructing entrepreneurship or disenfranchising citizens,” Inslee wrote. “They are essential to preserving the very foundation of the internet as we know it, while enabling digital innovation in Washington state and across the country to grow unbridled by corporate interference.”
The governor’s letter highlighted how an open internet protects personal freedoms and creates economic opportunity by enabling innovative internet companies like Amazon, Zillow and Expedia to create jobs and transform society. Washington’s digital economy includes 190,000 jobs, 9,000 companies, thousands of innovations and billions of dollars of investment, thanks in part to neutrality of the internet.
The FCC is scheduled to vote Dec. 14 on whether to repeal rules that ensure free flow of information over the internet, prevent the blocking of lawful websites, forbid paid prioritization and prohibit discrimination of lawful network traffic.
“All Americans, as a matter of principle, should enjoy equal access to the educational, social and economic power of the internet,” Inslee’s letter continued. “Unfortunately, the Commission’s draft order undermines these core principles and for the first time allows broadband providers — rather than the marketplace — to pick the winners and losers in the 21st century economy.”
While full preservation of net neutrality can only be accomplished at the federal level, Inslee has directed his staff and state agencies to explore ways Washington state can protect a free and open internet for the state’s residents. Inslee has been a longtime proponent of net neutrality, having sponsored various amendments and legislation as early as 2006 as a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee in Congress.