Voice Your Opposition to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Declaratory Ruling, Docket No. 17-108, Destroying Internet Freedom
We oppose this shameful abandonment of a free and open Internet. This rule change is a gift to a small but powerful group of corporations, who will gain even more influence to the detriment of the general public. This could also allow corporations to suppress free speech.
What is it “net neutrality”?
Net neutrality is a term commonly used to describe to rules implemented by the FCC to regulate Internet Service Providers (ISPs), requiring them to treat all Internet traffic as equal. This means that ISPs can’t slow down, speed up, or block your data based on the type of data it is or where it originates from.
This is how we have come to expect Internet service to operate. When you sign on for service from Comcast, Verizon, AT&T, etc., you expect them to make their best effort to deliver content to your device, regardless of where that data comes from or what that data is. All of that is about to change if the FCC has its way.
What is happening to the net neutrality rules?
The Trump administration is in the process of gutting net neutrality. A final proposal was recently published by the FCC and will be subject to vote by the FCC Commissioners on December 14, 2017. Once passed, this will allow ISPs to alter your Internet traffic any way they see fit. The reasons given by the FCC for voiding these rules range from uninformed to dishonest.
If this passes as proposed, any remedies for ISP abuses will have to come from the over-extended Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which has limited enforcement power. It is also not clear that the FTC can address abuses that don’t affect trade, such as the suppression of free speech by ISPs. For example, if Verizon doesn’t want you to read this website because they don’t like it’s message, they will be able slow it down or otherwise make it unusable under this new regime.
Destruction of the free Internet could impact your wallet. Soon you might be forced to pay more for Internet access, because ISPs want to offer more expensive “premium” tiers of end-to-end service. There is a very strong incentive to throttle service for those who aren’t paying the premium. Without net neutrality in place, they can do this with few repercussions.
Why should progressives care about this issue?
The core technologies that enable today’s Internet came from a government-funded project in the late 60’s. The Internet infrastructure resulting from that research has benefited both our economy and our society. Therefore the government should continue to ensure the Internet is an equal playing field, and not just hope that ISPs will put the public’s interests above their own profits.
Killing net neutrality will undermine the ability of poor people to get broadband, knee-cap funding for rural telecommunications, encouraging consolidation and higher prices in business broadband, enable massive broadcasting conglomerates to gobble up more local voices. The only ones who benefit from killing these rules are the big ISPs, who will try to shake down consumers and businesses that rely on the Internet.
What can I do?
Contact the three Republican FCC Commissioners and tell them to vote NO on December 14. We want to keep net neutrality just as it is.
- Ajit Pai – Ajit.Pai@fcc.gov
- Michael O’Rielly – Mike.ORielly@fcc.gov
- Brendan Carr – Brendan.Carr@fcc.gov
You can also add your voice to the over 20 million public comments already on record regarding these proceedings (Docket 17-108). Go to this site and select “+Express” and then fill in the form. In the comments, make sure to indicate you want the FCC to continue enforcing Net Neutrality under Title II.
Also, contact your representatives and tell them you want them to support legislation to ensure the Internet remains free.
The following links provide additional information about this issue.