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 have let ISPs charge content companies for priority treatment — relegating all other content to a slower tier of service.

Wheeler’s plan would have allowed telecom giants like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon to pick winners and losers online and discriminate against online content and applications. And it would have destroyed 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).

Free Press mobilized the public and political leaders to protest Wheeler’s proposal and urge the FCC to reclassify broadband access services under Title II of the Communications Act — which is the only way to protect real Net Neutrality.

Nearly 4 million people — a record-breaking figure — submitted comments on the FCC’s plan, and more than 60 members of Congress spoke out. In November 2014, President Obama joined the call and urged Wheeler to reclassify under Title II.

On Feb. 4, Wheeler confirmed that he will use Title II to give Internet users the strongest protections possible. The full Commission approved his proposal on Feb. 26 — marking the biggest victory for the public interest in the FCC's history.

There are already attempts in Congress and the courts to overturn these rules. And there will be other fights ahead. No matter what, the Internet must 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.

Blog Posts

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Press Releases

  • Free Press Blasts Industry Court Filings Against Net Neutrality

    July 30, 2015

    WASHINGTON — Phone and cable companies and their lobbying groups filed an initial series of legal briefs on Thursday as part of their legal challenge against the Federal Communications Commission's Feb. 26 Net Neutrality order. After the FCC properly decided to reclassify broadband Internet access as a telecom service under Title II of the Communications Act, various industry groups filed 10 different lawsuits to prevent the agency from enforcing the open Internet protections.

  • Digital Rights and Social Justice Groups Urge the House to Call Off Its Sneak Attack on Net Neutrality

    June 16, 2015
    WASHINGTON — On Tuesday, more than 60 organizations sent a letter to the chairman and ranking member of the House Committee on Appropriations urging them to “remove from the Financial Services appropriations bill Sections 628-630 of that legislation, which threaten implementation of the Federal Communications Commission’s Open Internet Order.”
  • Court Denies Latest Phone and Cable Lobby Effort to Overturn Historic Net Neutrality Decision

    June 11, 2015
    WASHINGTON — On Thursday, the D.C. Circuit denied a motion for stay of the Federal Communications Commission’s historic decision to reclassify broadband Internet access as a telecommunications service.
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  • Appropriations Measures That Undermine Net Neutrality

    This resource illustrates why the anti-Net Neutrality provisions in the House Appropriations Committee's funding bill are so dangerous.

    June 26, 2015
  • Coalition Letter to House Appropriations Committee

    More than 60 public interest groups, tech companies, startups, innovators and investors urged the House Committee on Appropriations to remove anti-Net Neutrality provisions from a funding bill.

    June 16, 2015
  • Intervenors' Opposition to Motion for Stay of the Net Neutrality Order

    Free Press joined nearly two dozen advocacy groups and tech industry leaders to intervene in defense of the Federal Communications Commission's Net Neutrality order. The groups filed in opposition to the entrenched cable, telephone and wireless lobbying associations' motion for a stay of the FCC's landmark Feb. 26 decision.

    May 22, 2015
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News from Around the Web

  • Internet Providers Call FCC's Net Rules Unlawful in Court Filing

    USA Today
    July 31, 2015

    The Federal Communications Commission's Net Neutrality rules amount to a "power grab," Internet service providers charged in a court filing submitted Thursday.

  • 'First We Pray, Then We Organize': The Unlikely Coalition for Net Neutrality

    Huffington Post
    July 29, 2015

    Today at noon EST, a diverse group of faith leaders and advocates posted the same video on the Twitter and Facebook feeds of more than 1 million people. Backers of the video came from a wide range of civil rights causes — racial justice, LGBTQ equality, economic justice, religious pluralism and more. What's the unlikely hashtag that unites them?

  • Pro-Net Neutrality Group Gets Times Square Billboard

    The Hill
    July 7, 2015

    Internet advocacy group Free Press now has access to a particularly large megaphone: a billboard in New York’s Times Square.

    The group, which advocates for Net Neutrality and against large corporate media mergers, has ads appearing on a rotating digital display at the corner of 43rd St. and Broadway.

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People + Policy

= Positive Change for the Public Good

people + policy = Positive Change for the Public Good