People + Policy
= Positive Change for the Public Good
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The Internet is under attack.
Within the next few months, the Federal Communications Commission will vote on rules that would allow Internet service providers to discriminate online and create pay-to-play fast lanes. If the FCC approves this plan, Net Neutrality will vanish.
This is a serious fight. Powerful companies like AT&T and Verizon are deploying hundreds of lobbyists to stop the FCC from making rules that would actually protect Internet users. And Comcast is pretending to support Net Neutrality to sell the government on its merger with Time Warner Cable.
Here’s the good news: Millions of people are fighting back. We’re seeing unprecedented levels of support for the open Internet.
But if we’re going to win, we need to get bigger and louder than ever before — and we need to do it fast.
On May 15, 2014, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler proposed rules that would allow rampant discrimination online. We must convince the FCC to abandon its proposal, restore its authority to enforce strong Net Neutrality rules, and protect the open Internet once and for all.
Wheeler's proposal would let a handful of companies become the gatekeepers of everything we do, say and see online. If this plan goes into effect, Internet service providers will be allowed to favor their own content and charge extra fees to others for VIP treatment. This would create a two-tiered Internet, with express lanes for the few who could afford the tolls — and slow dirt roads for the rest of us.
To save Net Neutrality, the FCC needs to reclassify broadband providers as common carriers. This is the only way to protect the open Internet.
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.
These rules would let a handful of giant Internet companies become the gatekeepers of everything we do, say and see online. If the FCC’s rules go into effect, Internet service providers will be allowed to favor their own content and charge extra fees to others for VIP treatment. This would create a two-tiered Internet with express lanes for the few who could afford the tolls — and slow dirt roads for the rest of us.
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 have pushed the FCC to protect real Net Neutrality, and hundreds of thousands are weighing in on the need to block the Comcast merger. If we succeed, the open Internet will continue 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.
These are the last two scheduled FCC meetings for the year — likely timing for any new rules to be issued.
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. And later this fall, a series of public hearings — organized by Free Press and our allies — will take place in cities across the country.
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