Washington, D.C.—U.S. Senator Susan Collins issued this statement following her vote today in favor of restoring the FCC’s net neutrality rules, which passed the Senate by a vote of 52-47.
“I have long supported common-sense regulations to prohibit Internet providers from prioritizing certain content over other. I also support regulations to clarify that Internet providers must not manage their systems in an anti-competitive way. Restoring the FCC’s net neutrality rules will ensure that the Internet will remain open and continue to be a powerful and transformative platform of innovation and economic opportunity.
“Net neutrality could also make it easier for broadband providers to expand service in higher-cost areas, such as rural Maine, by reestablishing FCC’s oversight over interconnection points that allow rural carriers to connect with the rest of the Internet. Without this protection, rural carriers’ ability to deploy broadband in underserved areas will be hindered, undermining efforts to bring adequate broadband to all Americans. In December, I joined my colleague, Senator Angus King, in sending a letter urging the FCC not to set aside its net neutrality rules without addressing the legitimate concerns of rural providers and the tools needed to support continued buildout of rural broadband.
“We must also do more to protect consumer privacy on the Internet. Facebook’s role in allowing Cambridge Analytica to access its user data illustrates the need to strengthen consumer protections.
“Congress should not use net neutrality to pick winners and losers among these competitors, but must instead adopt bipartisan legislative reforms to the 1934 regulations that put consumers first.
“A careful, deliberative process involving experts and the public is warranted to ensure that consumers have strong protections that guarantee consumer choice, free markets, and continued growth along with meaningful consumer privacy and data security protections. With a bipartisan commitment, I believe Congress can enact legislation to achieve these goals.”