People + Policy
= Positive Change for the Public Good
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On Feb. 26, 2015, the FCC approved strong open Internet rules under Title II of the Communications Act.
This is the biggest victory for the public interest in the agency’s history.
After FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler released a proposal in 2014 to allow pay-to-play fast lanes online, Comcast and its pals thought they’d won the fight. But Free Press members and millions of people across the country proved them wrong.
After a year of relentless activism, Wheeler reversed course — leading to the historic Feb. 26 vote.
The cable and phone companies will do everything they can to knock this victory down, but our message is clear: Mess with the Internet, and you’ll lose.
A year of unprecedented grassroots organizing pushed FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler to abandon an industry-friendly proposal and instead propose rules that ban blocking, throttling and paid prioritization under Title II of the Communications Act. The full FCC approved these rules in a historic vote on Feb. 26. Title II’s sound legal footing will safeguard this win, but that won’t stop the cable and phone companies from trying to tear it down.
Net Neutrality is under serious threat precisely because only a handful of mammoth phone and cable companies control Internet access in the United States.
Comcast is the biggest of them all, and it wants to buy chief rival Time Warner Cable for $45 billion … which would give it a service area covering nearly two-thirds of the country. To make matters worse, AT&T has jumped back on the merger bandwagon and wants to buy satellite-TV operator DIRECTV for more than $67 billion.
For the cost of these two monster deals, AT&T and Comcast could collectively deploy super-fast gigabit-fiber broadband service to every single home in America.
Net Neutrality has made the Internet an unrivaled space for free speech, civic participation, innovation and opportunity. Net Neutrality prohibits online discrimination and gives any individual, organization or company the same chance to share their ideas and find an audience.
Companies like Comcast and Verizon aren’t used to losing in Washington, and they’ll do everything they can to knock down the Title II protections the FCC approved on Feb. 26, 2015. Our message is clear: Mess with the Internet and you’ll lose.
Companies like Comcast and AT&T are trying to buy out their competition and sell Washington regulators on their disastrous deals. But allowing these companies to get even bigger won't help the open Internet — it will only make the gatekeepers more powerful. For the cost of these two monster deals, Comcast and AT&T could collectively deploy super-fast gigabit-fiber broadband service to every single home in America.
Millions of people pushed the FCC to protect real Net Neutrality, and hundreds of thousands are weighing in on the need to block the Comcast merger. We need to do everything we can to ensure the open Internet continues to thrive as a space shared and shaped by its millions of users.
A federal court strikes down the FCC’s 2010 Open Internet Order.
The FCC’s new proposal is leaked — and public interest in Net Neutrality soars.
On the day initial public comments on the FCC’s proposal are due, the agency’s servers crash thanks to the heavy traffic. Within a few short hours Free Press and allies mobilize to hand-deliver hundreds of thousands of comments. The agency makes the unprecedented move of extending its deadline by three days.
The Internet Slowdown. On Sept. 10, hundreds of organizations and online companies — including Netflix, Kickstarter, Etsy and Tumblr — display a spinning icon representing a slow-loading Internet on their websites. This massive day of action drives 2 million emails and nearly 300,000 calls to Congress, and 777,364 people file comments with the FCC.
Free Press and allies organize a big speakout in New York City to highlight the voices of the communities the FCC's decision will most impact.
The Wall Street Journal reports on new rules under consideration — rules that would still allow slow lanes online. A huge backlash follows in the press and among public interest groups.
President Obama releases a video statement urging the FCC to reclassify broadband under Title II.
Chairman Wheeler confirms that his new rules use Title II to give Internet users the strongest protections possible.
Victory! The FCC approves Title II-based rules that ban blocking, throttling and paid prioritization online.
The FCC is supposed to protect the public interest, but over the past decade it's made a series of questionable policy decisions that stripped the agency of its authority to protect Internet users.
Already 3.7 million people have weighed in on Chairman Wheeler's flawed plan, and hundreds of thousands are fighting the proposed Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger.
Using detailed legal arguments and grassroots activism, we will push the FCC to drop Wheeler's plan and block the Comcast merger.
Here's how you can get in touch with the FCC:
Check out the comments we filed with the agency:
While this battle is centered on the FCC, we need lawmakers in the House and Senate to step up and tell Chairman Wheeler where their constituents stand. Congress plays a key role in this fight, and pressure from our elected officials makes a huge difference. Already more than 60 members of Congress have spoken out, but there's more to do.
Here's how you can help:
To win, we have to organize outside of Washington. And that's exactly what we've been doing.
The Sept. 10 Internet Slowdown brought together millions of Internet users to drive tens of thousands of calls to lawmakers. On Sept. 15, hundreds gathered at rallies in New York City and Philadelphia to speak out against the FCC proposal. In October, we organized a rally in Texas and a big public speakout in New York City. Up next: a November public hearing in San Francisco.
Want to turn up the volume in your community? Here are a few things you can do:
An ever-expanding coalition of groups is educating and organizing their diverse constituencies to advocate for strong Net Neutrality protections. Check out the links below to learn more about how Net Neutrality impacts all of our communities.
Knowledge is power. Learn more about what's at stake.
Net Neutrality and Investment:
Title II and Reclassification:
Our rights to connect and communicate — via universally accessible, open, affordable and fast communications networks and devices — are essential to our individual, economic and political freedoms.
The Internet is the foremost battleground for free speech in the 21st century, and protecting our Internet freedom is essential to safeguarding our rights to speak and assemble in private.
Together we’re building the movement we need to protect our rights to connect and communicate.
People + Policy
= Positive Change for the Public Good