Net Neutrality

On Jan. 14, 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., struck down the Federal Communications Commission’s Open Internet Order.

In other words, Net Neutrality is dead (for now).

The open Internet rules, adopted in 2010, were designed to prevent Internet service providers (ISPs) from blocking or slowing users’ connections to online content and apps.

This ruling means that just a few powerful phone and cable companies could control the Internet. Without Net Neutrality, ISPs will be able to devise new schemes to charge users more for access and services, making it harder for us to communicate online — and easier for companies to censor our speech. The Internet could come to resemble cable TV, where gatekeepers exert control over where you go and what you see.

Without Net Neutrality, ISPs like AT&T, Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Verizon will be able to block content and speech they don’t like, reject apps that compete with their own offerings, and prioritize Web traffic (reserving the fastest loading speeds for the highest bidders and sticking everyone else with the slowest).

The tools ISPs use to block and control our communications aren’t different from the ones the NSA uses to watch us. Whether it’s a government or a corporation wielding these tools or the two working together, this behavior breaks the Internet as we know it and makes it less open and secure.

We must fight to ensure that the Internet we love won’t simply become a platform for corporate speech or another tool for government spying. We must protect the Internet that lets us connect and create, that rejects censorship and values our right to privacy.

The Internet shouldn’t be a walled garden. It should remain a forum for innovation and free expression. As so many startups and political activists know, open, affordable, fast and universal communications networks are essential to our individual, economic and political futures.

For our 101 on Net Neutrality, click here.

Blog Posts

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Press Releases

  • FCC Proposal for a Payola Internet Would End Net Neutrality

    April 24, 2014

    WASHINGTON — The Wall Street Journal reports that Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler will on Thursday propose a new set of rules issued in response to a January federal court decision that tossed out the agency's prior open Internet rules.

  • 42 Free Speech, Open Government and Public Interest Groups Urge the FCC to Protect Net Neutrality

    March 20, 2014
    WASHINGTON -- On Thursday, Free Press and 41 freedom of speech, open government, journalism and public interest groups sent a letter urging Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler to reclassify broadband access services to protect freedom of expression online.
  • Free Press: FCC Action Will Not Protect Free Speech Online

    February 19, 2014
    WASHINGTON – On Wednesday, the Federal Communications Commission announced it will seek input on whether the agency has the authority to prevent phone and cable companies from blocking or otherwise discriminating against content online. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler's statement is the agency’s response to a Jan. 14 federal appeals court ruling that recognized the importance of Net Neutrality protections but struck down the FCC's flawed legal theory for adopting those rules.
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  • Net Neutrality & Reclassification: A Fact Sheet

    Net Neutrality is the basic principle that keeps the Internet free and open. It prevents Internet service providers from blocking, censoring, interfering with or discriminating against Web traffic and content.

    April 2, 2014
  • Free Press Letter to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler

    On Feb. 7, Free Press sent a letter to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler regarding classification of broadband.

    February 10, 2014
  • Dear FCC: Reclassify Broadband

    The D.C. Circuit’s decision in the Verizon case dealt a huge blow to the open Internet. But the court’s decision provides a road map for the FCC to move in a positive direction and reclaim its authority to protect the open Internet.
    January 30, 2014
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News from Around the Web

  • FCC Will Allow Internet 'Fast Lanes'

    National Journal
    April 24, 2014

    The FCC plans to move ahead with regulations that would allow Internet service providers to charge websites for faster service, according to an agency official.

  • Goodbye, Net Neutrality; Hello, Net Discrimination:

    New Yorker
    April 24, 2014

    President Obama’s chairman of the FCC, Tom Wheeler, has proposed a new rule that is an explicit and blatant violation of this promise. In fact, it permits and encourages exactly what Obama warned against: broadband carriers acting as gatekeepers and charging Web sites a payola payment to reach customers through a “fast lane.”

  • When It Comes to Net Neutrality, Either the FCC Thinks We're Idiots, or It Just Doesn't Care

    April 24, 2014

    The proposed Network Neutrality rules the FCC is settling on don’t appear neutral at all. Here’s the conversation we should be having if the FCC really thinks our network policies need a rewrite.

Learn More

  • Broadband

    Access to high-speed Internet service — also known as broadband — is a basic public necessity, just like water or electricity.

    Yet despite its importance, broadband access in the United States is far from universal. Millions of Americans still stand on the wrong side of the "digital divide," unable to tap into the political, economic and social resources of the Internet.

  • Cable

    Two decades ago, something unusual happened.

    Consumers were irate about their cable bills, which were increasing at nearly three times the rate of inflation. And Congress actually did something — adopting in overwhelmingly bipartisan fashion the 1992 Cable Act. The law resulted in lower cable bills, saving consumers $3 billion in just over a year’s time.

  • Comcast-Time Warner Cable Merger

    On Feb. 13, Comcast announced its bid to buy its chief rival, Time Warner Cable. If approved, this deal would create a television and Internet colossus like no other.

    Comcast is the country’s #1 cable and Internet company and Time Warner Cable is #2. They both regularly rank at the bottom of the barrel in customer-service surveys. Put them together and you get one subpar giant offering service to two-thirds of U.S. homes.

People + Policy

= Positive Change for the Public Good

people + policy = Positive Change for the Public Good