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 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

More »

Actions

Press Releases

  • Historic Win for Internet Users

    February 26, 2015
    WASHINGTON — On Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission will vote to reclassify high-speed Internet access service under Title II of the Communications Act. These rules will prohibit Internet service providers from blocking or throttling Internet content and ban paid-prioritization schemes that could create Internet slow lanes.
  • Congressional Hearing a Last-Ditch Effort to Derail Net Neutrality

    February 25, 2015
    WASHINGTON — On Wednesday, the House Communications and Technology Subcommittee will convene a hearing to discuss the FCC’s Feb. 26 Net Neutrality vote. The majority of the witnesses are phone and cable industry-funded spokespeople and pundits, called to appear at another hearing designed to spread fear about Net Neutrality and stop the FCC from protecting the rights of Internet users.
  • ADVISORY: Sen. Ed Markey to Join Net Neutrality Coalition for Tuesday Press Conference

    February 23, 2015
    WASHINGTON — Supporters of the open Internet will convene a telephone press conference on Tuesday to set the stage for a momentous week for Net Neutrality. The speakers will include Sen. Ed Markey, former FCC Commissioner Michael Copps, Free Press President and CEO Craig Aaron, Fight for the Future Co-Founder Tiffiniy Cheng, and Center for Media Justice Executive Director Malkia Cyril.
More »

Resources

More »

News from Around the Web

  • The Left's Historic Power Win: How the Long-Fought Net Neutrality Triumph Transformed History

    Salon
    March 3, 2015

    In early 2006, AOL and Yahoo announced plans to charge senders of email a small “postage fee” to have their email delivered to AOL and Yahoo customers. This fee would cost roughly one-fourth of a penny per email, so small as to be virtually insignificant. While not particularly onerous in the context of real space, where delivering mail has per item costs, this was a potential blow to the emerging politics of the Internet world.

  • For Net Neutrality Advocates, a Moment to Celebrate

    The New York Times
    February 28, 2015

    Online activists played a significant role in the vote on Thursday to regulate broadband Internet service as a utility.

    And even before the vote yesterday, outside the headquarters of the Federal Communications Commission, they started taking a bow.

  • Activists Fly Giant Grumpy Cat Banner Over Comcast Headquarters

    Daily Dot
    February 27, 2015

    How do you act when your scrappy group of Internet activists bests Comcast?

    You fly a giant Grumpy Cat to their headquarters to mock them, of course.

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