Net Neutrality Action

Net Neutrality or the Open Internet is important for everyone, but for Americans living abroad internet access is absolutely vital for staying in touch with family and friends, and to continue participating in American democracy.

Proposed FCC rules structurally undermine the equality of citizens to participate freely in the public sphere.

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The Trump administration wants to abolish FCC protections established in 2015 that required Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to maintain a level playing field for all your internet options, instead of maximizing profit at the expense of your freedom of choice. Americans abroad who want to consume US sites will likely suffer further.

“Republicans don’t seem to care about a free and open internet and the only thing transparent about their position is their clear desire to hand over the keys to the big telecom companies who bankroll their election bids. This is yet another attack on our right to free speech and right to privacy, and one that could pave the way for broadband companies that continue under serving low-income communities.” -- DNC Chair Tom Perez

What is Net Neutrality?

Simply put Net Neutrality is the principle that all content is treated equally, regardless of what website it is from, or what device you use. Our open internet has enabled innovation and freedom by giving the same platform to anyone with a device and an internet connection. You can visit any website or create a website without having to ask permission or pay extra to your ISP.

What would happen if we lost Net Neutrality?

Without Net Neutrality the internet would be very different. It would become a place where ISPs control which websites, content or applications flourish based on what was best for their bottom line: they would speed up sites that paid them and choke or throttle content from sites that didn’t. In short the internet would be changed from a free space to one where our corporate interests control what you can access.

There are many examples (from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Net_neutrality) of what happens when we don’t follow the principles of net neutrality; such as when Comcast slowed uploads from peer-to-peer file sharing applications by using forged packets.[1] Comcast didn't stop until the FCC ordered them to do so.[2] In 2004, The Madison River Communications company was fined $15,000 by the FCC for restricting their customer’s access to Vonage which was rivaling their own services.[3] AT&T was caught limiting access to FaceTime, so only users who paid for the new shared data plans could access the application.[4]

Didn't we already win strong Net Neutrality rules?

Yes. In 2015 the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved net neutrality rules to preserve the open internet and ensure that it could not be divided into “pay-to-play” fast lanes for web and media companies that can pay for it and slow lanes for everyone else. The Obama administration reclassified telecommunications and cable internet services as common carriers. This current attack on Net Neutrality is another effort by the Trump Administration to erase the Obama legacy. FCC Chairman Pai wants to end the “utility-style regulatory approach” to the Internet and "reestablish" the power of market forces to regulate the Internet. He is also pushing for a reevaluation of whether to maintain, modify, or eliminate the Title II Order bright-line rules[5] that prevent ISPs from blocking, throttling, or prioritizing certain websites.[6]

“For all of Trump's rhetoric about deteriorating infrastructure, his administration is destroying the backbone of our internet infrastructure. In this era of global technological competition, it is absolutely critical for our internet infrastructure to be just as rock solid, fast and accessible to all startups and consumers as they are to large corporations — just as our electricity and highways are.” -De Kai — Democrats Abroad CTO

Why is Net Neutrality important for businesses and organizing?

Without a free and open internet we, the people, will not be able to organize as easily as we can now. When activists are able to turn out thousands of people in the streets at a moment’s notice, it’s because ISPs aren’t allowed to block their messages or websites. Net Neutrality is extremely important for small business owners, startups and entrepreneurs, who rely on the open internet to launch their businesses, create markets, advertise their products and services, and reach customers. We need the open internet to foster job growth, competition, innovation and to protect our rights.

“Net neutrality protections are also crucial for communities of color and disadvantaged groups. An open internet provides a platform that allows these historically discriminated against groups to bypass the traditional media gatekeepers to tell their own story. “ - Rep. Don Beyer (D), representing Virginia's 8th congressional district

What can you do now? How to make your voice heard.

Tell the former lawyer for Verizon, now FCC chairman, AJit Pai and the other commissioners, we want Net Neutrality.

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Or you can call, email, fax, write or tweet the FCC.

Call business hours: 8:00am - 5:00pm, ET or fax at anytime.

Phone: 1-888-225-5322

TTY: 1-888-835-5322

Fax: 1-866-418-0232

Here's a sample call script:

"My name is [Your name] and I'm calling to urge Chairman Pai/Commissioner O’Rielly to defend Title II net neutrality and protect the internet as a common carrier.
Will the commissioner stand with the majority of Americans and preserve real net neutrality?
Thank you very much for your time.”

Write a letter or email

Address: Federal Communications Commission
  445 12th Street SW
  Washington, DC 20554

Email and Tweet the FCC:

Name

Position

Email address

Twitter

Ajit Pai

Chairman

Ajit.Pai@fcc.gov

@AjitPaiFCC

Mignon Clyburn

Commissioner

Mignon.Clyburn@fcc.gov

@MClyburnFCC

Michael O'Rielly

Commissioner

Mike.O'Rielly@fcc.gov

@mikeofcc

1. Peter Svensson (19 October 2007). "Comcast Blocks some Subscriber Internet Traffic, AP Testing shows". Associated Press. (https://www.google.de/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=2&ved=0ahUKEwjTnNqQ24DVAhUEYlAKHf2uCzsQFggrMAE&url=http%3A%2F%2Fmsl1.mit.edu%2Ffurdlog%2Fdocs%2F2007-10-19_apwire_comcast_p2p_interference.pdf&usg=AFQjCNEo72flVTLW1voImDZxfPt6Y5WZkQ&cad=rja)

2. "BitTorrent Throttling Internet Providers Exposed - TorrentFreak". TorrentFreak. 2011-10-20. (https://torrentfreak.com/bittorrent-throttling-internet-providers-exposed-111020/)

3. "Phone Company Settles in Blocking of Internet Calls". 2005-03-04. (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A5428-2005Mar3.html)

4. Kravets, David. "AT&T Breaching Net-Neutrality Rules Despite Lifting Some FaceTime Restrictions". WIRED. (https://www.wired.com/2012/11/facetime-restrictions-lifted/)

5. "Open Internet". Federal Communications Commission. (https://www.fcc.gov/consumers/guides/open-internet)

6. "Restoring Internet Freedom". Federal Communications Commission. 2017-04-27. (https://www.fcc.gov/restoring-internet-freedom)