ITHACA, NY (WSKG) – Some constituents are urging Congressman Tom Reed to take action to support net neutrality. Reed represents New York’s 23rd congressional district, which stretches from Ithaca to Jamestown. Seven people met with a member of his staff in Ithaca on Tuesday morning.
Back in December, the Federal Communications Commission repealed 2015 net neutrality rules that required internet providers to allow equal access to all web content.
Congressman Reed supported the repeal. He says he supports net neutrality, just not like it was.
On Tuesday, the constituents said, if he really supports net neutrality, the way to do it now is to sign a pending “discharge petition.” It would move the House resolution of disapproval for the FCC’s repeal to a floor vote. It already has bi-partisan support and 177 signatures but it requires a majority of House members (218) to move the resolution.
In the meeting, Reed’s staff member said the Congressman considers the net neutrality rules, “overly burdensome” and she promised to email the constituents after the meeting to explain what “overly burdensome” refers to.
Reed has said the public should have a role in defining a net neutrality policy, according to the Finger Lakes Daily News, in 2017.
The constituents worry the loss of net neutrality rules would allow ISPs to restrict content from competitors and charge higher fees for access to that content. They think it could endanger free speech on the internet and inhibit internet entrepreneurship.
Federal Election Commission financial reports show Reed has received over twenty thousand dollars this year from communications political action committees linked to internet service providers Verizon, AT&T, and Comcast. The same disclosure records do not show any contributions from communications PACs to his Democratic opponent, Tracy Mitrano.
The Senate voted to restore net neutrality in May. To have an effect, the House must vote before the end of this year.