As net neutrality vote arrives, GOP Senate candidates still silent on protecting Hoosiers’ open internet

INDIANAPOLIS – Hoosiers know that Joe Donnelly’s on their side when it comes to protecting a free and open internet, but when the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) votes today on its net neutrality policy, it will still be unclear where Indiana’s GOP Senate candidates stand.

The FCC is scheduled to hold a vote today that would reverse its several-year-old policy of net neutrality. If the commission votes to affirm the new proposal, as is expected despite record opposition, internet service providers will be re-classified and placed under the control of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), where they’ll likely face more lenient oversight. The proposed move would mark the “end of net neutrality as we know it,” according to Internet Association CEO Michael Beckerman.

The FCC’s net neutrality policy is crucial for an open internet and guarantees that all content on the internet is treated equally. Specifically, it prevents internet service providers from having the opportunity to block or intentionally slow access to specific sites and content, potentially with the purpose of driving consumers towards the providers’ own or provider-sponsored content.

In recognition of the importance of net neutrality, Joe Donnelly has come out firmly against the FCC’s proposal, saying in part that “I have long supported an open internet to ensure that this powerful tool for innovation, communication and research continues to be a platform for the robust exchange of information. I am concerned that the FCC’s plan to rollback net neutrality regulations will harm consumers’ ability to access the content of their choice.”

His position stands in contrast to the silence of all three of Indiana’s Republican Senate front-runners. The failure to speak up was especially striking from Congressmen Messer and Rokita, considering that a majority of their Republican Hoosier House colleagues signed onto a letter supporting the FCC’s decision to side with the telecoms corporations and repeal net neutrality.

“Repealing net neutrality would be a clear statement from the FCC that major internet service providers are more important than ordinary Hoosiers,” said Will Baskin-Gerwitz, Senior Media Strategist fort the Indiana Democratic Party. “Today’s decision won’t just have massive consequences for Indiana’s economic development, but it will affect everything from education to free speech, and every Hoosier deserves to know on which side their elected officials stand. The silence from Indiana’s GOP senate candidates as this vote draws closer is nothing more than an act of shocking cowardice.”

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