Highlighting Concerns of Nearly 450,000 Missourians, McCaskill Opposes Changes to Net Neutrality Rules

Citing Missourians who have weighed in, Senator urges federal agency maintain consumer safeguards that protect a free and open internet

WASHINGTON – Highlighting the concerns of more than 443,000 Missourians who submitted public comments to the Federal Communications Commission and the thousands more who contacted her office directly, U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill is urging the agency to keep its current net neutrality rules in place and scrap efforts to eliminate them.

“[The FCC’s order] would eliminate important consumer safeguards that protect a free and open internet,” McCaskill wrote to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. “Particularly as we have seen increased consolidation among the nation’s largest broadband providers, enactment of network neutrality rules was an important step toward making sure that consumers are protected when they connect to the online content of their choice. This has been echoed by the thousands of Missourians who have contacted my office in the past two weeks, as well as the overwhelming majority of the more than 443,000 Missourians who submitted public comments to the FCC on the issue earlier this year. Any effort to repeal these rules without putting alternative net neutrality safeguards in place is unacceptable.”

The letter continues: “Perhaps most troubling about the order is that it just furthers the unfortunate politicizing of this important policy issue. I have long said that Congress should settle the issue of net neutrality once and for all with legislation to provide certainty for consumers and providers alike. Until Congress can reach such an agreement, I urge you to abandon efforts to entirely eliminate net neutrality rules.”

McCaskill’s letter also cites her bipartisan investigation with Republican Senator Rob Portman of Ohio into the customer service and billing practices of the nation’s largest cable and satellite providers, most of which are also among the nation’s largest providers of broadband service. The Senators’ investigation found that providers charged a host of fees not prominently displayed in advertised pricing, required customers wishing to cancel their service to speak to “retention specialists” who were incentivized to not allow cancellations, and sometimes overcharged consumers nationwide by millions of dollars. McCaskill expressed concerns that the changes to net neutrality rules would eliminate the FCC’s ability to adopt truth in billing rules for broadband that currently exist for cable and phone companies.

McCaskill has urged the Federal Communications Commission to protect consumers on a variety of issues—fighting to protect consumers from unwanted robocalls by urging the Commission to do more to implement robocall-blocking technologies, and urging action to prevent fraud in Lifeline, a program that provides subsidized telephone service to low-income Americans, but has been a target for abuse.

Full text of the letter HERE

Visit mccaskill.senate.gov/consumers to learn more about McCaskill's fight to protect consumers.