UPDATE: This morning, the FCC voted to move forward with its controversial plan on net neutrality. The fight isn’t over yet, though. The agency will take public comments until July and then schedule a final vote. During this morning’s meeting, Chairman Wheeler stressed his commitment to the open Internet (although his proposed idea for how to go about that does not match up with activists’ demands) and stated that he left open the option to regulate the Internet as utility. Now it’s our job to keep up the pressure on the FCC to do the right thing.
The FCC is expected to vote today on rule changes that could force every web service that can’t pay expensive new fees into an Internet slow lane. The changes would mean the death of net neutrality—the concept that Internet service providers should not be able to discriminate between content.
After the rule changes were leaked in late April, activists and Internet users responded in droves. Hundreds of thousands of people e-mailed the FCC or signed petitions to demand that the agency protect the free and open Internet. Google, Netflix and nearly 150 other Internet companies signed a letter asking the FCC to reconsider its plan and, more recently, thirty-six members of Congress co-signed a letter in support of real net neutrality. Meanwhile, “Occupy the FCC” activists have been camping out at the agency’s DC headquarters for a week.
Today, in a national “Day of Action,” net neutrality advocates will stage a protest outside the FCC building in Washington, DC, as well as smaller protests at FCC offices across the country and numerous online actions. Democracy for America, reddit, the Future of Music Coalition, The Nation and many other organizations have all signed on to step up today in the fight for real net neutrality.
There’s still time to protect the free and open Internet. Join The Nation and OpenMedia in calling on FCC commissioners to say “no” to dividing the Internet into fast and slow lanes.
Over at OpenMedia, Eva Prkachin broke down the far-reading effects of a two-tiered Internet. And here at The Nation, our own John Nichols pointed out that despite FCC claims that it is addressing activists’ concerns, only a full commitment to net neutrality coupled with a reclassification of broadband as a public utility can truly protect the free and open Internet.
Free Press, a media reform organization at the forefront of the fight, breaks down the basics of net neutrality.