All Brand New Congress candidates today pledged their support for the principle of net neutrality and committed to building the new generation of digital infrastructure when they enter Congress in 2019.

The government should invest in and protect our digital infrastructure as we did for our interstate systems 61 years ago, and as we have for every public utility,” said Sarah Smith, candidate for Congress in Washington’s 9th district. “Just as our national highways and energy grid brought access and opportunity to rural America, so should our internet.”

Candidates weighed in on the current debate around government regulation of the Internet and the question of net neutrality: the principle that all online content should be treated equally.

“Your freedom to access the centers of knowledge and commerce should not be limited by your proximity to a major city, nor dependent on gatekeepers from private multibillion-dollar corporations,” said Alexandria Ocasio, candidate for Congress in New York’s 14th district. “ExxonMobil doesn’t get to choose the car you drive, which highway you get to use, when or how often. And Comcast cannot be allowed to restrict what you get to see.”

Their intervention comes as multiple telecoms providers seek to increase charges to access certain content. Broadening the debate, they also called for increased government scrutiny of telecoms monopolies, highlighting low rural connectivity and price hikes are key issues.

They also called for public investment in digital infrastructure as part of a wider $1trn infrastructure investment programme in bridges, roads, rail, school and public services.