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Senate Majority Leader

Bob Duff

Representing Norwalk & Darien

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After Trump Administration Rollback of Federal Net Neutrality Rules, Connecticut Senate Democrats Lead Passage of State Net Neutrality Bill

Despite the united opposition of every Republican member of the chamber, Senate Democrats today led passage (18-18 with Lieutenant Governor Wyman casting the tiebreaking vote) of a strong consumer protections bill reinstating net neutrality protections that were rolled back this winter by President Donald Trump’s hand-picked chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

Without net neutrality, internet providers will be able to control and decide which websites and content appear on the internet. That can slow competitors or block any political content with which they disagree. Internet Service Providers will also be able to charge extra money to support the content of the few companies that will be able to pay. That hurts small business and consumers.

Earlier this legislative session, Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff (D-Norwalk) introduced legislation charging the Public Utility Regulatory Authority with regulating the provisions of net neutrality and prohibiting internet service providers in Connecticut from throttling consumer internet speeds, blocking certain websites or imposing prioritization pricing.

“The Trump administration’s discarding of net neutrality rules represents a dangerous rollback of consumer protections,” said Senator Duff. “Preserving open internet is good for Connecticut’s businesses, startups, students and consumers. I am proud that Connecticut is joining other states like Washington and Oregon in leading the fight for a fair, open and accessible internet.”

“Eighty-three percent of voters support keeping the FCC’s old net neutrality policy,” said state Senator Beth Bye (D-West Hartford). “My constituents are outraged over this Trump administration change. They believe they should have control over the internet that they are paying for. As a state, and as a legislature, we can pass laws that pass legal muster and which send the message to our constituents that we stand with them, and not with the big telecomm industries.”

In February, Gigi Sohn, Distinguished Fellow, Georgetown Institute for Technology Law and Policy and former Counselor to former FCC Chair Tom Wheeler attended a press conference in the Legislative Office Building and declared, “I’m delighted that Connecticut is helping to fill the gaping hole left by FCC Chairman Pai and his colleagues when they repealed the 2015 net neutrality rules and abdicated the agency’s role protecting consumers and competition in the broadband market. When the federal government fails to protect consumers, it is up to the states to do so, and Senator Duff’s bill does just that.”

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