The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is threatening to undermine the free and open internet as we know it. In May, the FCC voted to begin a rulemaking that would undo the Open Internet Order, which ensures that Internet Service Providers (ISP) treat all online traffic equally.
To raise awareness, involve more constituencies and continue to promote net neutrality, we plan to focus each week on one theme or aspect of net neutrality and amplify that message online.
Strong net neutrality protections are in place to prevent broadband providers from blocking, throttling, or prioritizing internet content. Net neutrality rules protect the free flow of ideas that are creating new industries, educating our youth, promoting free speech, and supporting the communications that we rely on every day.
President Donald Trump and FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s want to hand control of the internet to a few big broadband companies that will serve as broadband gatekeepers. Without the Open Internet Order, ISPs could discriminate against certain websites, distort competition, stifle innovation, and undermine user choice and free expression. Here’s what could happen without net neutrality:
– Increased Costs – Imagine a world where Comcast or Verizon could set up internet fast and slow lanes, where only websites with the deepest pockets can afford the fast lane, and those additional costs are passed onto consumers. Or a world where AT&T or Charter make it more difficult to watch Netflix, stream Beyoncé’s latest album, or play Madden with your friends, because your ISP has slowed down those websites. Or a world where AT&T can slow down your Netflix or Hulu app to encourage you to use its own DIRECTV NOW service, stifling competition in the video marketplace.
– Stifled Innovation — Online giants like Google, Facebook, and Amazon once started as small, disruptive technology companies and were able to grow, expand, and share their services with the world because the internet is a permission-less environment. But should these crucial net neutrality protections be rolled back, innovators will have to pay for internet fast lanes first and innovate second. Only those companies with ample resources would be able to buy the fast lanes and reach their customers – everyone else would be left behind.
– Free Speech and Democratic Values – The internet is the world’s greatest platform for commerce and communications because it allows anyone with a voice or an idea to participate. But imagine a world where Charter or Verizon can entirely block a news website, or slow down websites with certain political views. Doing so could stifle free speech and severely restrict access to information and educational materials.
In the face of the FCC’s proposal, Senate Democrats are fighting to protect the free and open internet for American consumers, businesses and innovators. Americans pay for internet access and should enjoy a level-playing field online where all traffic comes in at the same speed.
OVERVIEW OF THE FCC’S NET NEUTRALITY RULES
In 2015, the FCC adopted strong net neutrality rules that applied the principles of nondiscrimination to the broadband world and reclassified broadband as a telecommunications service under Title II of the Communications Act. These rules prevent broadband providers (i.e. Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon) from blocking, throttling, or prioritizing internet content. With these protections in place, websites are not relegated to internet slow lanes or forced to divert resources from innovation to afford internet fast lanes. Further, net neutrality protections prevent broadband and internet providers from blocking or slowing down content from competitors, including over-the- top video streaming.
TRUMP’S FCC’S NET NEUTRALITY PROPOSAL
In May, FCC Chairman Pai and the Republican FCC circulated a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that would rescind the FCC’s net neutrality rules. The FCC is currently accepting comments on their proposal, and could vote on the proceeding this fall.
SOCIAL MEDIA GUIDANCE
This week’s theme (Thursday, June 22 @3pm EDT): Republican Net Neutrality Roll-back will Harm FREE SPEECH
Below are sample tweets and posts for social media. Graphics are attached. We appreciate your teams helping to amplify this week and in the weeks to come.
1. Retweet NowThis: https://twitter.com/nowthisnews/status/876840554285461507
2. Democracy requires a free and open internet—a place where people can freely share information and engage in meaningful public discourse.
3. Net neutrality embraces our constitutional freedoms. Watch this to learn more abt why we must #ProtectNetNeutrality:https://www.facebook.com/NowThisPolitics/videos/1595571697140981/ (140)
4. Unrestricted public debate is vital to our democracy. The need to preserve a free & open internet is abundantly clear. #ProtectNetNeutrality
5. We can’t let @FCC Chairman Pai gut the strong #netneutrality rules that we fought for. A free & open internet is essential to our democracy.
6. Trump&’s @FCC is pushing to give #BigCable the power to slow down certain web content. Say goodbye to #freespeech without #NetNeutrality.
7. Trump’s @FCC’s push to end #NetNeutrality is the centerpeice of his authoritarian agenda. #ProtectNetNeutrality
8. #ProtectNetNeutrality – it helps us organize and resist Trump’s attacks on people of color, immigrants and other vulnerable communities.
9. Stop #Trump and friends from restricting your free speech and ideas. #ProtectNetNeutrality
10. If Trump and #GOP get their way, the ability to freely criticize and resist will disappear. #ProtectNetNeutrality
11. #NetNeutrality ensures an internet where all ideas are equally accessible. #ProtectNetNeutrality
12. Trump’s @FCC is attacking #NetNeutrality. Democracy will lose and special interests will win. #ProtectNetNeutrality
13. If Trump’s @FCC guts #NetNeutrality protections, the open exchange of diverse beliefs and ideas could disappear. #ProtectNetNeutrality.
14. Marginalized communities rely on #NetNeutrality to voice their ideas. Trump’s @FCC would give control of the internet to the few & powerful.
15. Don’t let #Trump and the GOP monopolize a historically free and unbridled source of information. #ProtectFreeSpeech #ProtectNetNeutrality
16. Our most important ideas are strengthened online: justice, equality, democracy. Don’t let Trump destroy #freespeech. #ProtectNetNeutrality
17. All Americans rely on an open internet as a platform for free speech, organizing, and democractic discourse. #ProtectNetNeutrality
18. #ProtectNetNeutrality to ensure the internet remains an open platform for voices who don’t always get heard on traditional media.
19. #ProtectNetNeutrality to ensure ALL stories get told, from all walks of life and all corners of our world.
20. Without net neutrality, the internet will fall under control of a few Big Cable companies to tell you what you can or can't say online. #ProtectNetNeutrality
SAMPLE FACEBOOK POST
We’ve been fighting to protect #NetNeutrality for well over a decade now, but the open internet has never felt more important than it does today. This is our platform for organizing the resistance to Trump’s authoritarian policies and attacks on people of color, immigrants, and other vulnerable communities. It’s almost impossible to imagine our lives without the internet today.
If we lose Net Neutrality, we’ll lose the most important platform for free speech we’ve ever known. Without it, only the wealthy and the powerful few will be able to pay enough to get their messages across. #ProtectNetNeutrality