The new Chair of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), former Verizon lawyer Ajit Pai, has announced a plan that would undo the strong public protections put in place in 2015 that keep the Internet open and affordable for everyone. Without these enforceable net neutrality provisions under Title II of the Communications Act, Verizon, Comcast, AT&T, and the other monopoly Internet Service Providers (ISPs) will be able to control where we go and what we do online, including:
- what pages, apps, programs and services you can (and can’t) access online
- the speed with which sites and apps load based on how much you are willing to pay. These giant telecoms want to maximize profit by any means, including through schemes that will allow them—not Internet users—to pick winners and losers online
Net neutrality keeps the Internet at a level playing field for everyone. It is what has allowed the Internet to become an unparalleled engine for democracy, organizing, entrepreneurship, free speech, innovation, education, communication, entertainment, and commerce. Striking down net neutrality impacts small business owners, entrepreneurs, minority communities and poorer communities who can’t afford the ISP’s intended pay-to-play schemes.
In 2015, when Republicans came after Net Neutrality, more than 4 million people like you spoke out, and won strong open Internet protections under Title II of the Communications Act because of the massive public outcry. Since then, opponents of net neutrality have been relentless in their efforts to take away our hard-fought victory—first (and unsuccessfully) in the courts, and now through the FCC.
But without strong rules to protect an open Internet, ISPs will be free to block content, control the pathways to information and create pay-to-play schemes. They can control costs and access to the Internet like they do now with cable TV and cellular coverage.
The first vote on moving Chairman Pai’s disastrous plan forward will be THIS THURSDAY, May 18th, so we need to speak out today.
It doesn’t matter what your political beliefs are, if the Administration and the FCC strike down Net Neutrality it means the Internet will be in the hands of the major corporations and the government. It means the Internet will no longer be free.
CALL TO ACTION
- Contact Chairman Pai and the FCC TODAY. Leave a comment with your thoughts on net neutrality on the FCC.gov website here for “Express” filing of a comment. Under “Proceeding(s)” enter “17-108”. Under “Name of Filer” enter your name. Be sure to state that you support Net Neutrality and Title II oversight of ISPs. These comments are tallied and kept for the public record. You can email Chairman Pai directly here. For added measure, leave a simple comment “I am against the rollback of net neutrality rules” by calling the FCC at: (888) 225-5322 (press 4 to “file informal complaint”, then press 2 for “all other calls”, and finally press 0 to “speak to an agent”). The FCC is counting these calls.
- Sign petitions. Like this coalition petition, this Freepress petition and this Demand Progress petition, trending now on our Petitions, Petitions! page, which is updated with great petitions on a range of issues daily.
[adapted from Presente.org]
Freepress: “Net Neutrality 101: What You Need to Know”
Politico, April 24, 2017: “FCC Chief to launch net neutrality rewrite this week, sources say”
Freepress: “Net Neutrality Violations: A Brief History“