SPRINGFIELD - Well, if you're reading this, today's return to pre-Obama Administration Internet rules didn't end the world as we know it. And the reality is, this time next year you'll still get this weekly email update, and be able to do anything else you do on the Internet, in just the same way you do today.

But you don't have to take my word for it. Academics, think tanks, and even the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission himself have laid out the facts about net neutrality. I specifically wanted to share those facts today because they're being drowned out by some of the companies that stand to benefit from the previous administration's attempt to assert more government control over the Internet.

Get The Latest News!

Don't miss our top stories and need-to-know news everyday in your inbox.

To better understand why that is, it's helpful to look at who the Obama-era Internet rules applied to and who they exempted. Internet Service Providers (ISPs) like Comcast and Charter were the target of the 2015 rules, despite the fact that those companies have little financial interest in what specific websites or content they deliver to your home or business. To Comcast, it matters not if you binge on Hulu instead of Netflix, and to Charter, it doesn't matter if you shop on Amazon or eBay.

Article continues after sponsor message

Edge providers like Google, Facebook, and Netflix, however, care a great deal about things like that. Yet, despite their significant financial interest in the content they offer and how fast you see it, they were not subjected to the same data prioritization rules as ISPs. Edge providers, unlike ISPs, are also widely known to censor content they don't like or agree with.

So what ought to be done? Republicans and Democrats, both in Washington and around the nation, generally agree that lawful content should not be blocked or slowed by ISPs to benefit one company over a competitor. And everyone generally agrees that consumers should be able to access whatever lawful content they wish without corporate or government censorship. We all want what folks think of as 'net neutrality,' we just have different ideas about how to get there.

That's why I think the real tragedy in the rules that ended today was that they lacked the imagination to see beyond the status quo. Instead of debating how to divvy up existing network capacity – especially when 23 million Americans in rural communities like the 15th District of Illinois still don't have access to broadband – we should have been talking about ways to incentivize the expansion of broadband infrastructure and increase innovation and competition in the Internet service market.

That solution requires new bipartisan legislation, not more bureaucratic regulation. As a senior member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction over this issue, I will continue to work to prevent both ISPs as well as edge providers from blocking, throttling, or censoring while facilitating greater broadband deployment in rural, underserved areas like I represent.

More like this:

Feb 12, 2024 - Spectrum Super Bowl Commercial 2024 Touts Home Internet Speed With Hit: "Walls Were Getting In The Way"

Mar 19, 2024 - Greene County Lands $24.7 Million Grant for Rural Broadband Expansion

Feb 22, 2024 - Alton City Hall Experiences Phone and Internet Outages

Feb 6, 2024 - Attorney General Encourages Parents, Caregivers To Take Active Role WIth Online Precautions

Mar 4, 2024 - IDHS Recognizes March As Problem Gambling Awareness Month