Net neutrality is in peril. Again. And we all have until Monday, July 17 to fight for it.
Net neutrality, as explained here, is the principle that Internet service providers (ISPs), like Comcast, Verizon, AT&T, and Optimum, must treat all data on the Internet the same. It prohibits charging different prices for specific content or websites, like the one you’re visiting right now. Without net neutrality, ISPs could be given free rein to charge what they want and limit your service how they please. Potentially, ISPs might institute packages (see these mock pricing plans as examples). And if you already pay a fee to subscribe to a service like Netflix, ISPs have already demonstrated their willingness to throttle traffic.
It’s no small matter.
Thanks to the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) current Chair, Trump appointee Ajit Pai, net neutrality is once again in the cross hairs and everyone who cares about keeping Internet freedom needs to act. If you haven’t submitted a comment to the FCC, you should do so here or by going here and clicking “Express” on the right side. If you already have, do so again. The FCC’s commenting period ends on Monday, July 17th.
In addition to submitting comments to the FCC in defense of net neutrality, on Tuesday, July 12, much of the Internet will be fighting back with a day of action. Like last time, a variety of websites will display an alert or message to bring awareness to the issue of net neutrality and what can be done. Among the participants are Amazon, Twitter, Netflix, Imgur, and Reddit. We will do our part too. To find out how to join the fight on July 12, go here.
It doesn’t seem like very long ago when, on February 26, 2015, the FCC voted in favor of net neutrality, reclassifying broadband access as a telecommunication service. In doing so, the Commission applied Title II of the Communications Act of 1934 as well as section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 to ISPs.
After ISPs tried to fight the rules protecting net neutrality in court, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit decided in favor of the new rules, as well as the FCC’s determination that broadband access is a public utility, as opposed to a luxury. The telecom industry vowed to take their case to the Supreme Court, but Pai is looking to save them the trouble.
Pai, who previously held posts in the Department of Justice, the FCC, and served as Associate General Counsel at Verizon Communications Inc., went on record about net neutrality in January, saying, “I think the issue is pretty simple. I favor a free and open Internet and I oppose Title II.” Pai favors an Internet free and open for corporate monopolization and profiteering. Find the FCC’s proposal here.
Net neutrality is extremely important to the work that everyone at the Progressive Army does. We call for a free and open Internet. Information is power. Please fight back with us.