Net Neutrality

Protesters march past the FCC headquarters on May, 15, 2014 in Washington, DC. Photo: Bill O’Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images

What is net neutrality? Why does it matter?

Net neutrality is the principle that Internet providers like Comcast & Verizon should not control what we see and do online. In 2015, startups, Internet freedom groups, and 3.7 million commenters won strong net neutrality rules from the US Federal Communication Commission (FCC). The rules prohibit Internet providers from blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization—”fast lanes” for sites that pay, and slow lanes for everyone else.

Comcast, Verizon and AT&T want to end net neutrality so they can control what we see & do online. They want to gut FCC rules, and then pass bad legislation that allows extra fees, throttling & censorship. But Congress can put a stop to all of this.

Nearly everyone who understands and depends on the Internet supports net neutrality, whether they’re startup founders, activists, gamers, politicians, investors, comedians, YouTube stars, or typical Internet users who just want their Internet to work as advertised.

Cable companies are famous for high prices and poor service. Several rank as the most hated companies in America. Now, they’re lobbying the FCC and Congress to end net neutrality. Why? It’s simple: if they win the power to slow sites down, they can bully any site into paying millions to escape the “slow lane.” This would amount to a tax on every sector of the American economy. Every site would cost more, since they’d all have to pay big cable. Worse, it would extinguish the startups and independent voices who can’t afford to pay. If we lose net neutrality, the Internet will never be the same.

On July 12, 2017, thousands of people and organizations protested to defend Internet freedom. On December 7th, 2017 thousands protested across the country to stop the FCC.

The new chairman of the FCC was a top lawyer at Verizon. And now he’s calling for a vote to kill net neutrality, as a gift to his former employer. So on December 7th, thousands of net neutrality supporters protested outside Verizon retail stores across the U.S. to demand that Congress stop the FCC from destroying the Internet as we know it.

We must convince Congress to stop the FCC. To win, we need to bring more members of Congress onto “Team Internet”—especially Republicans. Republican members of Congress face massive pressure from party leadership to oppose Net Neutrality, partly because of lobbying by Team Cable, and partly because they see it as “Obama era” policy. But Net Neutrality predates Obama, has always been a design principle of the Internet, and does not need to be a partisan issue. Some Republicans are open to the need for rules—but they won’t break ranks from party leaders unless they hear from constituents.

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