Grassroots activists won an epic victory two years ago when together we pushed the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to pass strong net neutrality rules. Hundreds of thousands of CREDO members and millions of others fought for years to protect the free and open internet with net neutrality – the principle that internet providers must treat all users’ content equally. In 2015, we finally won.
Now, Trump’s FCC chairman is quietly moving to scrap the rules. Earlier this month, news reports revealed that FCC Chairman Ajit Pai wants to give up the FCC’s role in protecting internet users and instead ask companies to voluntarily police themselves.1 If he’s successful, the hard-fought victory to protect our rights on the internet will be lost.
Tell FCC Chairman Ajit Pai: Don’t kill net neutrality.
Just as telephone companies connect callers without regard to how much they can pay, the internet under net neutrality is classified as a protected utility. Internet providers can’t block content, slow traffic, or create “fast lanes” to prioritize websites whose owners pay more.2 Net neutrality protects our privacy, keeps broadband prices competitive and helps new companies to innovate. That’s why consumer groups and internet businesses like Google, Facebook and Netflix all strongly support net neutrality and oppose Pai’s plan to kill it.3
Pai’s plan for the internet looks a lot like Paul Ryan’s plan to repeal Obamacare.
In both cases, Republicans are trying to replace a popular policy with an impractical and deceptive proposal. Like the Obamacare repeal plan, Pai’s net neutrality “fix” would help a few corporations earn more profits by eliminating protections for the rest of us.
Pai’s plan would ask telecom companies to voluntarily pledge to follow the principles of net neutrality and task the Federal Trade Commission with punishing offenders. As one commenter noted, the idea that Pai will get every large and small internet service provider to voluntarily put strong open internet provisions in their terms of service agreements is “pure nonsense.”4 Even if companies agree, they could change their terms at any time. Meanwhile, broadband internet would no longer be classified as a utility, and the FCC would have abdicated its authority to protect internet users.
Republicans are trying to revoke our rights on the internet, and we need to fight back.
We cannot allow Pai to move forward without a vocal and sustained opposition at every stage. Now, we need to stop Trump’s FCC the same way we stopped Trump and Paul Ryan from repealing Obamacare.
Tell FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to drop his plan to kill neutrality.
- Rich McCormick, “FCC head Ajit Pai reportedly outlines plans to roll back net neutrality rules,” The Verge, April 7, 2017.
- Jeff Sommer, “What Net Neutrality Rules Say,” The New York Times, March 12, 2015.
- Jacob Kastrenakes, “Google, Facebook, Netflix lobbyist tells the FCC not to destroy net neutrality,” The Verge, April 12, 2017.
- Nilay Patel, “Ajit Pai’s net neutrality plan is nonsense, The Verge, April 7, 2017.