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Rep. Don Beyer, Former FCC Chair Wheeler, General Counsel Sallet Discuss Net Neutrality’s Future With Large Audience In Arlington Town Hall

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Washington, June 27, 2017 | comments

Rep. Don Beyer and special guests Tom Wheeler, former Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and Jonathan Sallet, former FCC General Counsel held a town hall discussion on the future of net neutrality last night in Arlington, Virginia. The event was attended by over 200 people, many of whom came armed with deep knowledge of FCC policy and complex questions about next steps for FCC’s proposed changes for regulation of broadband internet.

“Without strong net neutrality protections, internet service providers could create an internet ecosystem that is no longer truly open, and put startups and small businesses at a significant disadvantage,” said Rep. Don Beyer. “Net neutrality protections are also crucial for communities of color and disadvantaged groups. An open internet provides a platform that allows these historically discriminated against groups to bypass the traditional media gatekeepers to tell their own story. As the FCC moves to strip open internet protections, Virginians must make their voices heard by commenting directly to the FCC.”

Former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler spoke up vigorously in favor of net neutrality, and urged participants who supported it to voice their opinions at the FCC’s public comment page.

"The question that comes: will giant companies be able to exploit their monopoly position?” said former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler. “Who's going to stand up for consumers? Who's going to stand up for innovation? And who is going to stand up for the most important network in determining our future in the 21st century and making sure that that network is fast, fair, and open? The law is in place today, the law has been affirmed by the courts, and we've got to make sure that the law stays in place."

Former FCC General Counsel Jonathan Sallet made the case that public comment on net neutrality could be crucial for future litigation of the rule in court.

“I know this... what people say to the FCC today, in comments, in emails, about their own experiences: that can help shape what happens if it's necessary to go to court one more time," said Jonathan Sallet, former FCC General Counsel.

Full video of the Arlington town hall on net neutrality is available here

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