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Mayoral letter to FCC Chairman on net neutrality

July 12, 2017

The letter below, addressed to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, reinforces the nondiscrimination principles first called for in a 2014 U.S. Conference of Mayors resolution. Mayor Walsh joined 50 mayors to advocate for net neutrality on a day of action.

Ajit Pai
Chairman
Federal Communications Commission
445 12th St SW
Washington, DC 20554

July 12, 2017

Dear Chairman Pai:

Our nation’s residents benefit immensely from an open internet, which drives innovation and economic growth across every segment of American society. “Net neutrality” rules recognize the importance of maintaining a level playing field for all internet content – regardless of the creator or owner – to be enjoyed by all users, regardless of their internet provider. For this reason, the U.S. Conference of Mayors has consistently advocated for strong federal actions on this issue across two federal administrations.

This message has been consistent and simple. Be it through the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) or through legislative action, the U.S. Conference of Mayors first called in 2014 for nationwide internet protections that enforce the following nondiscrimination principles:

  • Commitment to transparency;
  • The free flow of information over the internet;
  • No blocking of lawful websites;
  • No unreasonable discrimination of lawful network traffic; and
  • No paid prioritization.

In 2015, the FCC enshrined these same principles of free and open internet service into law, through the reclassification of internet service under Title II of the Communications Act.

On May 18th, the FCC voted to consider full repeal of Title II and net neutrality rules. The FCC’s proposal poses a significant risk of stifling American innovation and harming local economies across the country.

Net neutrality is a pocket book issue for American households. Full repeal would have a particularly negative impact on middle and working class families, while simultaneously restricting access to certain types of online content and services to those who cannot afford to pay more. When internet providers restrict access to certain types of content and services and charge residents for the luxury of accessing information and services online, we are all less free to participate in the modern economy. For these and many other reasons, repealing these crucial protections will prove disruptive for our residents, our families, our small businesses, and countless others including nonprofits, schools, and libraries.

Additionally, technology startups depend on net neutrality to gain fair and competitive access to customers. A repeal of net neutrality rules could see innovative solutions from these startups relegated to the background as entrenched internet providers steer consumers to established solutions that can afford to pay for privileged status. Our cities depend on a thriving startup community to drive innovation and our continued economic growth.

The FCC must maintain and enforce the 2015 Open Internet Order, to ensure the principles of openness, freedom, and innovation continue to drive the American economy into the twenty-first century.

Sincerely,

Edwin M. Lee, Mayor, City and County of San Francisco
Bill de Blasio, Mayor, City of New York, New York
Martin J. Walsh, Mayor, City of Boston, Massachusetts
Muriel Bowser, Mayor, District of Columbia
Ed Murray, Mayor, City of Seattle, Washington
Rahm Emanuel, Mayor, City of Chicago, Illinois
Allison Silberberg, Mayor, City of Alexandria, Virginia
Dana Kirkham, Mayor, City of Ammon, Idaho
Ben Kessler, Mayor, City of Bexley, Ohio
Melvin Kleckner, Town Administrator, Town of Brookline, Massachusetts
Deborah Frank Feinen, Mayor, City of Champaign, Illinois
Andy Berke, Mayor, City of Chattanooga, Tennessee
Mary Casillas Salas, Mayor, City of Chula Vista, California
Kim McMillan, Mayor, City of Clarksville, Tennessee
John Woods, Mayor, Town of Davidson, North Carolina
Lucy Vinis, Mayor, City of Eugene, Oregon
Lioneld Jordan, Mayor, City of Fayetteville, Arkansas
William McLeod, Mayor, Village of Hoffman Estates, Illinois
Archibald L. Gillies, Chairman, Islesboro Board of Selectmen, Town of Islesboro, Maine
Peter D'Errico, Chair of Select Board, Town of Leverett, Massachusetts
Chris Beutler, Mayor, City of Lincoln, Nebraska
Edward J. Kennedy, City of Lowell, Massachusetts
Paul Soglin, Mayor, City of Madison, Wisconsin
Alex Morcos, Mayor, City of Medina, California
Betsy Hodges, Mayor, City of Minneapolis, Minnesota
Hans Riemer, Council Vice President, Montgomery County, Maryland
Jennifer Gregerson, Mayor, City of Mukilteo, Washington
Megan Barry, Mayor, Metropolitan Nashville & Davidson County, Tennessee
Jon Mitchell, Mayor, City of New Bedford, Massachusetts
David J. Narkewicz, Mayor, City of Northampton, Massachusetts
Libby Schaaf, Mayor, City of Oakland, California
Greg Stanton, Mayor, City of Phoenix, Arizona
Ted Wheeler, Mayor, City of Portland, Oregon
Tom Butt, Mayor, City of Richmond, California
Ron Nirenberg, Mayor, City of San Antonio, Texas
Sam Liccardo, Mayor, City of San Jose, California and Member, Federal Communications Commission Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee
Pauline Russo Cutter, Mayor, City of San Leandro, California
Zach Friend, Vice Chair, Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors, Santa Cruz County, California
Ted Winterer, Mayor, City of Santa Monica, California
Joanne Dittes Yepsen, Mayor, City of Saratoga Springs, New York
Gary R. McCarthy, Mayor, City of Schenectady, New York
Patricia Smith, Mayor, City of South Portland, Maine
Christine Lundberg, Mayor, City of Springfield, Oregon
Stephanie Miner, Mayor, City of Syracuse, New York
Marilyn Strickland, Mayor, City of Tacoma, Washington
Diane Wolfe Marlin, Mayor, City of Urbana, Illinois
William D. Sessoms, Mayor, City of Virginia Beach, Virginia
John Heilman, Mayor, City of West Hollywood, California
Joe Dominick, Mayor, City of Westminster, Maryland
Gary Resnick, Mayor, City of Wilton Manors, Florida