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

More »


More »

Press Releases

  • Free Press Intervenes in Court to Protect Internet Users and Preserve Net Neutrality

    September 21, 2015
    WASHINGTON — Free Press on Monday intervened with nearly two dozen advocacy groups and tech industry leaders in defense of the Federal Communications Commission’s Net Neutrality order. The groups filed a joint brief in opposition to the cable, telephone and wireless lobbying associations’ legal challenge to the FCC’s landmark Feb. 26 decision to reclassify broadband Internet access as a telecom service under Title II of the Communications Act.
  • 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.”
More »


More »

News from Around the Web

  • The Women Who Won Net Neutrality

    September 22, 2015
  • Tim Karr on Net Neutrality Trickery

    Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting
    September 11, 2015

    Internet activists fighting for Net Neutrality declared victory in February when the FCC ruled to consider broadband a public utility. So why are we now seeing Op-Eds declaring Net Neutrality in jeopardy?

  • FCC's Internet Rules Are Already Working

    September 11, 2015

    Broadband providers and Internet content companies are investing, and consumers can rest easy knowing that their rights to connect and communicate will be upheld.

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