Hi Reddit. I am former Republican Congressman and current COMPTEL CEO, Chip Pickering, here with Marvin Ammori, Open Internet advocate, and a lawyer who helped Reddit with their FCC comments. While Marvin tends to vote Democratic, he and I agree on the fundamental issue of Internet freedom. For a detailed look at Marvin’s take on the Open Internet, check out his piece in Foreign Affairs this month at: foreignaffairs.com/articles/141536/marvin-ammori/the-case-for-net-neutrality.

Today is the FCC deadline to file comments in the Open Internet proceeding and we're ready to answer your questions about the importance of this proceeding and the impact it will have on competition, innovation and consumer choice--or anything else. Let's get started.

PROOF: https://twitter.com/ChipPickering

Edit: Thanks everyone for participating and asking some great questions--and thanks for your devotion and interest in preserving an Open Internet.

Comments: 65 • Responses: 8  • Date: 

Matthattan8 karma

Congressman, your party has generally resisted net neutrality. I don't understand that, because it seems to me that net neutrality preserves a competitive marketplace for content, which I would expect Republicans to support. Why do most members of your party not see it that way, and what have you done to try to persuade your former colleagues?

ChipPickering8 karma

Unfortunately, it's a recent development. Michael Powell, a Republican Chairman of the FCC, was the first FCC Chairman to adopt net neutrality principles. Kevin Martin, another Republican FCC Chairman, enforced the principles and there was a bi-partisan commitment in Congress throughout the '90's and up until the last 4 years. But the same principles of an Open Internet guide Republican philosophy on free trade, and the promotion of free markets. The hope, as we go forward, is to restore the bi-partisan commitment to an open and free Internet.

Matthattan1 karma

In that case, my question is: what changed? I am inclined to assume that the answer is simply "lobbying," but I'm open to being persuaded otherwise.

ChipPickering8 karma

This is a debate between pro-growth free market, best for the country, best for the individual, best for the markets, versus incumbent protection. The past success and the merits are on our side, and the growing political support across the country gives us the momentum to prevail.

blazik5 karma

What's the most important thing you think people should know about Open Internet?

ChipPickering8 karma

  1. The Open Internet is extremely successful and is a driver of economic growth. It is the most successful economic technology policy in our lifetime. 2. There has been industry and bi-partisan support for an Open Internet from the very beginning. 3. We cannot afford to have barriers and tolls established on an open and free Internet.

SycoJack4 karma

Hello! I am a net neutrality supporter, but I've noticed recently that in the fervor against the ISPs and their fast lane crap, people have put aside the potential negatives in allowing the government to have greater control over ISPs.

My question to you is, what do you feel are the risks involved with allowing the government to regulate how ISPs manage their traffic and what steps are being taken, if any, to prevent the government from implement internet censorship?

Again, I do fully support net neutrality, I just think it's important to also discuss any potential downside of giving our government greater control.

ChipPickering3 karma

Good question. First, the first amendment protects, and will continue to protect free expression. The greatest strength of the Internet is the commitment to full, free expression and non-discriminatory opportunities of all speech from all corners or comers. Second, we have a very successful model of a light regulatory touch of how we have treated wireless rules for the last twenty years, which limits and restrains over regulation but preserves the open principles of the Internet that have created the benefits we all enjoy.

lvest4 karma

How do you think society would be affected if there was no Open Internet?

ChipPickering9 karma

Job creation, small and mid-sized businesses, and the innovators/innovation,would be harmed, and the pro-growth benefits of an Open Internet, would be reduced. That's why companies like Kickstarter, AngelList, the National Realtors Association, and associations that represent these critical sectors of our economy, all support Open Internet principles that preserve the Internet as we know it.

Ron_Tam2 karma

Thanks for doing this AMA.

Two questions: 1.) What is the number one thing the public should do to help support Open Internet? 2.) You have been sentenced to death for a crime you did not commit, what would your last meal be?

ChipPickering3 karma

On the actions, you need to make your voice heard at the FCC. Submit comments here http://apps.fcc.gov/ecfs/. The site may be down, so you can also email your comments to [email protected]. The comment cycle goes through September 10th. Contact your Senators and Members of Congress to share your support for an open and free Internet. You can and will make a difference.

As for my last meal, I would eat fresh tuna, shrimp and oysters from the Gulf.

soliddrink1 karma

Would you have run for Lott's or Cochran's seats in the Senate had they retired while you were in Congress? Was some of your decision to retire based on a view that Congress was slowly becoming hyper-partisan?

ChipPickering1 karma

I do hate to see the hyper-partisanship of Congress. Telecom and tech policy has historically been bi-partisan. There is a bi-partisan, grassroots movement that reflects the diversity of our economy and country that is strong enough to promote a good outcome at the FCC, and in future congressional debates. COMPTEL recently hosted an event celebrating the bi-partisan nature of the '96 Telecom Act, which has led to much of the success of the Internet economy. Former Republican Members, including Chairman Tom Bliley, and Congressman John Shadegg, along with Democratic Senators Ed Markey, and Mark Pryor, joined by Congressman Peter Welch came together to not only celebrate, but to advocate for the continuation of competitive and open policies going forward.

RFarmer1 karma

Congressman, thank you for your time today. In your opinion should the fight for Open Internet fail, is there anyway for it to go back, or what should the population do if the first part of the fight is "lost"?

ChipPickering3 karma

Failure is not an option. Not only will we succeed in the Open Internet proceeding by the end of the year, but there are major mergers where Open Internet conditions will be required for companies wishing to merge. We have multiple battles and opportunities. Each will reinforce the same policy.