Net Neutrality

On Jan. 14, 2014, a federal court of appeals struck down the Federal Communications Commission’s Open Internet Order, which was designed to prevent Internet service providers from blocking or slowing users’ connections to online content. The court did not comment on the validity of these rules but simply said that the FCC had used the wrong legal foundation to justify them.

In response, on May 15 FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler released flawed Internet rules that would let ISPs charge content companies for priority treatment — relegating all other content to a slower tier of service.

Wheeler’s plan would let telecom giants like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon pick winners and losers online and discriminate against online content and applications. And it would destroy the open Internet.

Without Net Neutrality, ISPs would 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 would 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 the Internet we love doesn’t 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 should remain a forum for innovation and free expression. Open, affordable, fast and universal communications networks are essential to our individual, economic and political futures.

For our 101 on Net Neutrality, click here.

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Press Releases

  • Free Press: Legally Dubious Hybrid Proposals Won't Protect Internet Users

    October 30, 2014

    WASHINGTON — The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday night that the Federal Communications Commission is redrafting its proposed open Internet rules. The new plan, based on filings from Mozilla and the Center for Democracy and Technology, would reportedly "separate broadband into two distinct services: a retail one, in which consumers would pay broadband providers for Internet access; and a back-end one, in which broadband providers serve as the conduit for websites to distribute content."

  • Despite an FCC No-Show, New Yorkers Speak Out for the Open Internet

    October 28, 2014
    NEW YORK — The fight to save Net Neutrality and stop the Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger came to Brooklyn on Monday night as an enthusiastic crowd of New Yorkers testified before five empty chairs, each representing one of the five FCC commissioners who either declined or failed to respond to the event organizers’ invitations to attend the public hearing in person.
  • TODAY: New York Leaders Join Public Hearing on Net Neutrality and the Comcast Merger

    October 27, 2014
    NEW YORK — The fight to save Net Neutrality and stop the Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger is coming to Brooklyn on Mon., Oct. 27. Rep. Jerrold Nadler, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, New York City Mayoral Counsel Maya Wiley and former FCC Commissioner Michael Copps will join others in a public discussion about our rights to connect and communicate. The hearing will occur against the backdrop of two pending FCC decisions that could harm the open Internet.
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News from Around the Web

  • Agency’s Two-Tier Compromise Stirs Ire but All Sides Agree on One Thing: It’ll Have to Be Hashed Out in Court

    Wall Street Journal
    October 31, 2014

    An emerging Federal Communications Commission plan to give the agency more authority to regulate traffic on broadband Internet networks is shaping up as the classic Washington compromise. No one loves the idea, and everyone is sure it will wind up in court.

  • FCC Tests the Waters On a 'Hybrid' Net Neutrality Solution That Almost Everyone Hates

    Techdirt
    October 31, 2014

    There is something to the old saying that a good compromise leaves everyone a little unhappy, but it appears that the rules being contemplated right now might leave nearly everyone really unhappy. It's not clear that's a good result.

  • FCC ‘Net Neutrality’ Plan Calls for More Power Over Broadband

    Wall Street Journal
    October 30, 2014

    WASHINGTON—The head of the Federal Communications Commission is laying the groundwork for expanding the agency’s authority over broadband service, people familiar with his thinking say, a move long sought by advocates of stricter regulation of Internet-service providers.

    But the plan by FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler isn’t expected to satisfy all proponents of “Net Neutrality” — the principle that all Internet traffic should be treated equally — because it would still allow broadband providers to cut deals with content companies for special access to customers.

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.

  • Cybersecurity

    Our right to private communications is a cornerstone of American democracy. But with heightened awareness in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, technological advances have continued allowing the government to expand its reach into our private lives via electronic surveillance and data-mining programs. New laws and policies introduced in the last decade have eroded our civil liberties online.

    Congress has a poor track record when it comes to cybersecurity legislation. The bills introduced so far give the government way too much power to intrude on our privacy online.

People + Policy

= Positive Change for the Public Good

people + policy = Positive Change for the Public Good