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 didn’t 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.

Four 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, 2015, Wheeler confirmed that he would 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 have since been attempts in Congress and the courts to overturn these protections, and on May 13, 2015, Free Press filed a motion to intervene in the industry-backed court case challenging the rules. On June 14, 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled in favor of the FCC’s Open Internet Order, marking a significant victory in the fight for everyone's rights to connect and communicate.

Now, under President Trump, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai is doing everything he can to dismantle Net Neutrality. Speak out now to reject any attacks on the open internet.

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News from Around the Web

  • FCC's Mignon Clyburn Takes Net Neutrality to Skid Row

    May 24, 2017

    Tents lined a sidewalk on Los Angeles’ Skid Row in front of a small meeting hall where FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn spoke earlier this month to a group of community activists, a number of them homeless.

  • Net Neutrality Debate: Businesses Favor Rules Despite FCC Chairman Pai's Claims

    International Business Times
    May 24, 2017

    The Federal Communications Commission voted last week along party lines to move forward with Chairman Ajit Pai’s plan to roll back current Net Neutrality protections. Despite the claims of the agency head, many businesses would rather keep the current rules in place.

  • Net Neutrality's Not Dead Yet: What's Next, and How You Can Help

    DSL Reports
    May 22, 2017

    The FCC voted to begin dismantling Net Neutrality protections, but the rules aren't dead yet. Approving the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking only begins the process of trying to roll back the rules. But Ajit Pai and Net Neutrality opponents still have their work cut out for them.

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People + Policy

= Positive Change for the Public Good

people + policy = Positive Change for the Public Good