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.

And on May 15, the FCC voted to propose a new “open Internet” rule that may let Internet service providers charge content companies for priority treatment, relegating other content to a slower tier of service.

Under these rules, telecom giants like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon would be able to pick winners and losers online and discriminate against online content and applications. 

We must stop the FCC from moving forward with these rules.

Here’s how we got here:

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.

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News from Around the Web

  • With Perspective from Both Sides of His Desk, FCC Chairman Ponders Net Neutrality

    New York Times
    September 28, 2014

    WASHINGTON — As a lobbyist for the cable and wireless industries, Tom Wheeler played a role in shaping almost every major telecommunications policy and innovation over the last three decades.

    None of them, though, have generated as much public interest as Net Neutrality, the policy most likely to define his time as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission.

  • Inside the Collapse of the FCC's Digital Infrastructure --- and the Rush to Save It

    Washington Post
    September 24, 2014

    When the deadline hit last week on the official round of public feedback as the Federal Communication Commission makes rules on so-called Net Neutrality, it triggered a tsunami of online responses. When all was said and done, 3.7 million comments had been recorded by the federal government, more than the FCC has gotten on any debate in its 80-year history.

  • World Wide Web Inventor Slams Internet Fast Lanes: 'It's Bribery'

    Washington Post
    September 19, 2014

    A quarter-century ago, Timothy Berners-Lee designed the world's first Web browser and server, kicking off a thing that people started calling the World Wide Web.

    In a visit to the Washington Post on Thursday, Berners-Lee said that system is now in danger from Internet service providers that stand to amass too much power over what was intentionally built as a decentralized network — one where no single actor could dictate outcomes to everyone else.

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