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USCCB: Retain open internet 'by strongest legal authority available'


  • A man holds his smartphone in San Francisco in this 2012 file photo. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops urged the Federal Communications Commission to use "the strongest legal authority available" to "retain open internet regulations." (CNS photo/Susanna Bates, EPA)
  • People look at new computers in Cupertino, Calif., Oct. 27, 2016. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops urged the Federal Communications Commission to use "the strongest legal authority available" to "retain open internet regulations." (CNS photo/Tony Avelar, EPA)

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WASHINGTON (CNS) -- In comments delivered July 17 to the Federal Communications Commission, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops urged the FCC to use "the strongest legal authority available" to "retain open internet regulations."

The current regulations, adopted in 2015 by a Democratic-majority FCC, treat the internet as a utility. A prior FCC effort to regulate the internet as a communication service did not stand up to judicial scrutiny. The regulations are now under review by a Republican-led FCC. The concept of an open internet has long been called "net neutrality," in which internet service providers neither favor nor discriminate against internet users or websites.

The USCCB is "concerned that the FCC is contemplating eliminating current regulations limiting the manner by which the companies controlling the infrastructure connect people to the internet," said USCCB assistant general counsel Katherine Grincewich.

"Without the current strong open internet regulations, including prohibitions on paid prioritization, the public has no effective recourse against internet service providers' interference with accessibility to content," Grincewich said.

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