27 Senators Call on FCC to Delay Net Neutrality Vote

More than two dozen senators have called on the Federal Communications Commission to delay its scheduled vote on repealing net neutrality regulations next week.

The 27 senators, led by New Hampshire Democrat Maggie Hassan, sent a letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai requesting the delay due to concerns that the agency’s public comment file on the repeal could have numerous fake comments.

“A free and open Internet is vital to ensuring a level playing field online, and we believe that your proposed action may be based on an incomplete understanding of the public record in this proceeding,” the letter read. “In fact, there is good reason to believe that the record may be replete with fake or fraudulent comments, suggesting that your proposal is fundamentally flawed.”

The FCC is set to vote on December 14 to eliminate the Obama administration’s regulations that keep internet service providers from amplifying certain content over others and charging customers more to access certain features of the internet. The proposal to undo the net neutrality rules came from Pai himself.

The move would likely be a boon for the telecommunications industry and large-scale providers like Verizon, Comcast and AT&T.

The letter cites an investigation by the New York Attorney General’s office that found that “hundreds of thousands” of New York residents might have actually been impersonated by fake commenters arguing against net neutrality, and that thousands of more comments might not have been included in the public record.

“A transparent and open process is vitally important to how the FCC functions,” the letter read. “The FCC must invest its time and resources into obtaining a more accurate picture of the record as understanding that record is essential to reaching a defensible resolution to this proceeding.”

Aside from Hassan, the Senators who signed on to the letter include Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Sherrod Brown, Catherine Cortez Masto, Tammy Duckworth, Jeanne Shaheen, Patty Murray, Ron Wyden, Mazie Hirono, Jack Reed, Dianne Feinstein, Jeff Merkley, Kirsten Gillibrand, Amy Klobushar, Tammy Baldwin, Chuck Schumer, Ben Cardin, Mark Warner, Tim Kaine, Angus King, Ed Markey, Sheldon Whitehouse, Michael Bennet, Richard Blumenthal and Gary Peters.