Press Releases

Lack of Choice in ISP Disproportionately Impacts Republican Congressional Districts

December 13, 2017
Media contact: Pierce Stanley, [email protected], 202.350.0454

Demand Progress recently analyzed FCC data and found that in 70% of Republican districts, the percentage of people with 0-1 choice in ISP is higher than the national average of people with 0-1 choice.

“Lack of choice in ISP disproportionately affects Republican districts. These constituents are particularly vulnerable to changes in FCC rules because they do not have a choice in who connects them to the internet. Strong net neutrality rules protect them against internet service providers speeding up, slowing down, or blocking any content, applications, or website they want to use,” said Pierce Stanley, technology fellow at Demand Progress.

“An ISP could charge extra fees to big content companies that can afford to pay for preferential treatment, relegating everyone else to slower service,” Stanley said. “This would significantly undermine the ability of small businesses and startups to get a foot in the door, particularly in disproportionately impacted, Republican districts. Regulatory rollback could fundamentally change how they do business. The free market would be threatened.”

Growing Congressional Republican opposition reflects polling that shows broad support for net neutrality, including among Republican voters and the party’s base, as well as a quickly escalating, widespread backlash against Pai’s plan.

“We commend Rep. Mike Coffman and all the other Republicans who have publicly opposed FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s plan to destroy net neutrality.” said Stanley. “By opposing Pai’s plan, Republicans are demonstrating that they stand with their constituents, and not Comcast, when it comes to preserving an internet free from censorship and slow lanes. It’s time for all members of congress, Republican and Democrat alike, to join in the call for the FCC to cancel its Thursday vote to repeal net neutrality protections, which would be catastrophic for innovation and free expression.”