Last year’s historic net neutrality win could be undone with one off-the-radar bill
A new bill could undo the major win of pro-Internet communities last year who fought to keep telecom companies from creating slow lanes online
"Net Neutrality — the only two words that promise more boredom in the English language are 'featuring Sting.'"
–Last Week Tonight’s John Oliver
Remember that fight last year? We won. The Internet community came out hard in defense of an open Internet, ensuring that all content is treated equally.
The U.S. Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) historic ruling ensured that there wouldn’t be two tiers for Internet traffic — a fast lane for entrenched media giants, and a slow lane for you and I.
Without this ruling, it could have allowed for big business to pay to have the information they want to be delivered to your screen faster than anything else. You want content that isn’t produced by those with lined pockets? Be prepared to wait — loading… loading… loading...
But in a huge win for protecting the Internet as a place of equal opportunity, that didn’t happen. Open Internet groups, public interest groups, civil rights organizations, Web companies, elected officials and supporters like you made it clear that’s not the Internet we want.
But a little known bill could undo all that.H.R.2666 - No Rate Regulation of Broadband Internet Access Act, which was passed by Congress and now sits with the Senate, would essentially handcuff the FCC, squashing its ability to act on their Open Internet rules. And today we’re here to tell you about our plan to fight back.
Last year’s ruling aimed to protect free expression and innovation on the Web. This new bill limits the authority of the FCC, making it so they’re unable to restrict Internet Service Providers (ISPs) from going ahead with segregating traffic, and ripping off their customers.
Experts have also pointed to the problematic way in which “rate regulation” has been broadly defined, essentially without limits.
As Congressman Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) said while the bill was before the House: “That [rate regulation] is the question that we have here. When you’re defining ‘no’ against something and we don’t know what that something is, that something could be anything — it’s starting to sound like a Dr. Suess book.”
What does this mean for Internet users like you and I? Well, as our friends at Public Knowledge warn, the FCC would lose all it’s “teeth” — that is, its enforcement powers to stop Americans from getting ripped off. And given that most people in the U.S. only have one or the other choice for Internet providers, this is an invitation for rampant price-gouging and monopolistic behavior.
It takes away the FCC’s capacity to protect us, and places the power to slow Internet traffic and raise prices in the hands of Big Telecom giants.
That’s why we’re joining with our pals at Daily Kos to lead a campaign to have citizens tell their Senators they’re still paying attention to the Net Neutrality space and that this ruling would destroy the ethos of the FCC’s historic Net Neutrality decision. Join us in speaking out to stop Congress’ Internet slow lane bill and stop this bill from becoming law.
Don’t let government regulators undo our historic win. If we don’t speak up now, we’ll be left with companies price-gouging us for a two-tiered Internet service — demand your Senator stand up for an open Internet without slow lanes for those who can’t pay.