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Former GOP Rep. Pickering: Net Neutrality Good for Everyone

J.D. Hayworth on Newsmax TV

By    |   Monday, 17 Jul 2017 10:06 PM

Though some conservatives in Washington oppose net neutrality, Chip Pickering, a former Republican member of Congress, tells Newsmax TV it has been a positive for everyone and warns an impending FCC action could actually hurt Internet freedom.

Net neutrality rules were first imposed by the Federal Communications Commission under President Barack Obama's administration three years ago, with the rules preventing any broadband provider from discriminating against any website or online service by blocking or squelching bandwidth.

Pickering, a conservative, is CEO of Incompas, the "Internet and competitive networks association that is the leading trade association advocating for competition policy across all networks," according to their website.

He argues the FCC's move will hurt competition, undermine free speech, and lead to higher consumer costs. Net Neutrality, he says, has created a level playing for all Internet players.

But the current FCC, under Trump's new chairman Ajit Pai, is working to reverse these neutrality rules, which would allow Internet providers to slow, or even block access to websites and online services.

Many Washington Republicans have sought to rollback net neutrality, but a recent nationwide poll showed most conservatives — including most Trump supporters — want to keep the neutrality rules.

Pickering told Newsmax TV's J.D. Hayworth on Monday that net neutrality is much like the 1996 Telecom Act passed when both Pickering and Hayworth were Republican members of Congress.

The Act, Pickering said, ended all telecommunications monopolies, "and it really led to an explosion of what has come both in the wireless world for the Internet."

The Act also brought competition to all mediums in the communications and Internet industry, Pickering said.

"Since that time, trillions of dollars have been invested," he said. "We discovered that competitive free markets work."

Pickering has advocated for free and competitive markets in the areas of insurance, education and healthcare, and supporting net neutrality would be consistent with those views.

"We have these monopolies that have emerged and is causing everyone to pay more and get less and have poor quality of service," he said. "The same thing is true in broadband today."

Fully half the U.S. population has only one choice to pick as their broadband providers, Pickering said, and 40 percent have only two choices.

Pai has argued the FCC should take a hands-off approach, allowing the free market alone to regulate Internet access.

But Pickering argues with the rise of massive broadband provider monopolies or near monolopies, it is impossible for 90 percent of the country to have real choices.

And it can be devastating for smaller businesses that do not have deals with broadband providers like their larger competitors do.

Net neutrality is "kind of like the founding principles that we see in our Declaration of Independence that all people are created equal, and, in the net neutrality sense, it's all content is created equal," Pickering said.

He also noted conservative news websites could be the targets of big broadband companies that could favor their own more liberal-leaning outlets.

"What we think is the right open Internet, or net neutrality policy, is the same enduring principles that Reagan had," Pickering said.

"Let's break up monopolies and bring competition. And an open Internet at its very heart and at its core is all about competition, choice, innovation."

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Though some conservatives in Washington oppose net neutrality, Chip Pickering, a former Republican member of Congress, tells Newsmax TV it has been a positive for everyone and warns an impending FCC action could actually hurt Internet freedom.
conservatives, internet, equality, Chip Pickering
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2017-06-17
Monday, 17 Jul 2017 10:06 PM
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