By now you've heard. The FCC just approved the strongest Open Internet ("net neutrality") rules - ever.
Under the new rules, broadband Internet Service Providers (ISPs) can't build fast lanes for the 1%. And for the first time, the core net neutrality principles of no blocking and no discrimination apply to wireless as well. That means AT&T, Verizon and the rest won't be blocking your favorite app or blog.
On the very same day, the FCC handed us another huge victory by making it easy for communities in Tennessee and North Carolina to build their own networks - which means more affordable service for consumers.
This is the real thing. This is what we've been demanding all along. The agency finally reversed its bone-headed 2002 decision that degraded its own ability to protect the Open Internet.
How'd it happen?
Last spring, the FCC's first draft of its Open Internet policy leaked - and it was a disaster. In a capitulation on core net neutrality principles, the FCC was set to allow fast lanes online for the privileged few. It appeared all hope for a vibrant digital future was lost.
Our response was unambiguous: there is no compromising on core online competition and free speech protections. Undaunted, the grassroots stood up to weak-spined policymakers and their Big Cable backers, victoriously. You helped generate 4 million public comments at the FCC - the most ever, by far. Enough to bring fcc.gov to its knees on several occasions.
As Common Cause President Miles Rapoport said, "These votes also are a reminder that citizen voices can still make a difference in our democracy. More than 4 million Americans contacted the FCC to voice their support for strong open Internet protections; arrayed against them were companies that each year spend millions of dollars to elect candidates and millions more to lobby officeholders and regulators on behalf of corporate interests. Today, the little guys won a pair of big victories.
So what could happen?
Opponents of the Open Internet are already laying the groundwork for the next round of the fight. Lobbyists for Big Cable and Big Cellular are promising lawsuits. Meanwhile, telecom-friendly Sen. Thune has announced he will revive his legislative effort to undo both wins.
There will be congressional hearings. There will be legal shenanigans. But we all must remain vigilant. We’ll keep you posted on every threat as it arises. But for now, it’s time to celebrate these hard-won victories.
Office: Common Cause National
Issues: Media and Democracy
Tags: Broadband for All