UPDATE: The fight to save Internet equality
(reposted from an email received today from CREDO Action). Please note that while World Pulse sisters in the US can sign the petitions and participate in activism on this issue, for many sisters around the world this could be a terrible blow in the fight for digital empowerment for women and girls, yet they are not able to make their voices heard to the decisionmakers. It's up to us to provide a proxy for them. For some, continued internet equality could even be a matter of survival, so it's a prayerful issue as well. I'm posting this so we can all lend our power to the preservation of Net Neutrality in whatever way we can.
The FCC is meeting this Thursday to consider Chairman Tom Wheeler’s proposal to put the final nail in the coffin of Net Neutrality. We wanted to update you on where things stand.
The good news is that there’s tremendous momentum in the fight to stop the corporate takeover of the Internet.
Over 300,000 CREDO activists have joined you in signing petitions to the FCC telling them to stop the corporate takeover of the Internet.
And CREDO is part of a large coalition of groups including our friends at Demand Progress, Color of Change, Fight for the Future, MoveOn, Progressive Change Campaign Committee, Free Press and Democracy for America (among many others) that are speaking with one voice about the need to reclassify broadband to preserve Net Neutrality.
This activism is bearing fruit.
On Wednesday, two FCC commissioners who support strong Net Neutrality rules voiced concerns about Chairman Wheeler’s proposal, both of whom explicitly noting the torrents of emails and calls that have flooded the agency by those concerned that the chairman’s plan spelled the death of Net Neutrality.
And on Friday, 11 senators led by Oregon’s Ron Wyden sent a strong missive to Chairman Wheeler rejecting his plan and urging him explicitly to consider reclassifying broadband. Some highlights of their letter:
"Changing the rules – to let broadband Internet Service Providers (ISPs) demand payment from websites and app developers – would eradicate Net Neutrality, not preserve it. Any time one group of packets is favored on an IP network the rest of the traffic is, by definition, discriminated against. Given the current state of congestion the ISPs have allowed to develop at their interconnections with the Internet, any discrimination results in a degradation or blocking of services to the consumer – services the consumer has paid for.
The time has come for the FCC to adopt Net Neutrality rules that provide clear, strong protections for the Open Internet and all Americans, once and for all."
Other signers of this letter include: Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Al Franken, Jeff Merkley, Ed Markey, Kirsten Gillibrand, Cory Booker, Richard Blumenthal, Chuck Schumer and Barbara Boxer.
On top of all of this, over 100 Internet companies including heavyweights like Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Twitter, Yahoo and eBay wrote a letter to the FCC this week supporting a “free and open Internet” and saying that strong anti-discrimination rules are “essential for the future of the Internet.” These companies took strong aim at the chairman’s proposal, saying:
According to recent news reports, the Commission intends to propose rules that would enable phone and cable Internet service providers to discriminate both technically and financially against Internet companies and to impose new tolls on them. If these reports are correct, this represents a grave threat to the Internet
Now we need to keep the momentum going.
Activists with Fight for the Future’s “Occupy the FCC” campaign have already camped outside the FCC building in Washington, DC (and will be there through Thursday), and CREDO activists will be joining their daily solidarity rallies at noon and 5pm.
And on Thursday morning, there’ll be a big rally at the FCC while the commission is debating Chairman Wheeler’s proposal.
Meanwhile, we’ll continue to send calls to the FCC and Congress to put a stop to the corporate takeover of the Internet.
Whatever the outcome this Thursday, there’ll doubtlessly be a lot of work to do. It’s now or never for Net Neutrality, and your activism really matters.
Becky Bond, Political Director
CREDO Action from Working Assets