Dems Vow to Fight Republicans on Net Neutrality

Democratic delegates approved the party's platform Monday and it committed to free Wi-Fi for anchor institutions and broadband for every household.

It was being hailed as the most progressive platform in history, and clearly progress on broadband buildouts was high on the list.

"High speed internet connectivity is not a luxury; it is a necessity for 21st century economic success, social mobility, education, health care, and public safety," the platform said. "Despite considerable progress and private investment in the last eight years to close the digital divide, there is more work to do."

That includes "finishing the job of connecting every household in America to high speed broadband, increase internet adoption, and help hook up anchor institutions so they can offer free Wi-Fi to the public."

That mirrors the pledges of presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton in her own communications policy platform.

The Dems pledged to put the pedal to the metal on 5G wireless broadband.

No surprise here, but the platform was all in on net neutrality.

"Democrats support a free and open internet at home and abroad," the platform asserted, "and will oppose any effort by Republicans to roll back the historic net neutrality rules that the Federal Communications Commission enacted last year."

Republicans in Congress have already approved an amendment to a spending bill that would block the FCC from enforcing the Open Internet order, though the President would almost certainly veto the bill if that provision survived.

The Dems also pledged to "protect the intellectual property rights of artists, creators, and inventors at home and abroad," and the other side of that coin: "Democrats will fight against unfair theft of intellectual property and trade secrets...and oppose quotas, discriminatory measures, and data localization requirements."

Democrats are also pledged to overturn Citizens United, the Supreme court decision that allowed corporations and unions to fund campaign ads in federal elections, saying those corporations have First Amendment rights similar to those of individuals. The decision paved the way for big spending by Super PACS.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.