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Net neutrality worth saving, say 170 groups in open letter

A letter signed by the ACLU and the Electronic Frontier Foundation says the rules have made the internet "the engine of opportunity it is today."

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai
An open letter urges FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to preserve the principles of net neutrality.
CQ-Roll Call, Inc.

The Republican-led Federal Communications Commission isn't a fan of net neutrality, but that isn't deterring advocates from trying to preserve the rules.

More than 170 groups, including the ACLU and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, sent a letter Tuesday to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, as well as Sens. John Thune and Bill Nelson, urging them to maintain the principles of net neutrality put in place in 2015. The letter credited net neutrality with making the internet "the engine of opportunity it is today.

"The continuation of net neutrality is essential to the continued growth of the country and to ensuring access to social, political and economic empowerment for all," read the letter (PDF), which was signed by groups representing the media, technology and the arts, among others.

Net neutrality is the principle that all traffic on the internet should be treated equally, regardless of whether you're checking Facebook, posting pictures to Instagram or streaming movies from Netflix or Amazon. Even though most people agree with the basic premise of net neutrality, the FCC's rules have become a lightning rod for controversy because they placed broadband providers under the same strict regulations that govern telephone networks.

Pai, an opponent of net neutrality who took over as FCC chairman in January, hasn't said whether the FCC will repeal the regulations or if it will wait for Republicans in Congress to write a new, replacement law. The letter comes on the same day President Donald Trump nominated Pai to serve another 5-year term on the commission.