Taking It To The Hill

Common Cause Interns Join Battle for Net Neutrality

Written by Kimberly Hill and Scott Zimmerman, Common Cause interns, on July 13, 2017

As postings on 80,000 websites and messages from millions of internet users across America protested a Trump administration plan to end “net neutrality” rules, a band of lawmakers and activists gathered outside the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday to join in the fight.

The Trump administration — through FCC chairman Ajit Pai  —  is looking to repeal regulations that require internet service providers (ISPs) like AT&T and Comcast to give equal treatment to people, groups and companies that post content online. Without those rules, the ISPs will be able to create “fast” and “slow” lanes on the information superhighway, speeding the delivery of news, information and entertainment produced by people and companies able to pay a premium to upload their content and slowing things down for everyone else.

Repeal of the rules also would let the ISPs discriminate based on the content of information moving along their networks, allowing them to slow down discussions of ideas they don’t like and speed up those they favor.

Take action on Net Neutrality, call the FCC and your senators. Visit battleforthenet.com to learn more and do your part.

Markey argued Wednesday that the web should be unfettered by the influence of big money. “We will not let this take-over happen, a free and open internet is our right. We will fight to defend it,” he declared

Our group particularly enjoyed meeting Sen. Franken.  “He addresses serious issues with a sense of humor,” said Common Cause intern Jocilyn Estes.  

Franken gave an impassioned speech, waving his hands in the air as he dismissed “bogus” claims that net neutrality rules stifle investments by the ISPs that could improve internet service. His line -  “Let’s hear it for the First Amendment!” - triggered a loud cheer.

Rep. Jackson Lee told the gathering that net neutrality is one of the most important issues of our time. Equal access to the internet gives people who may be socioeconomically disadvantaged access to opportunities that otherwise would be closed. Repeal of the rules would disproportionately affect low-income communities, she argued.

The rally gave our group a chance to see lawmakers in a casual setting. Ex-comedian Al Franken showed off his comedic chops. While greeting other members, Wyden interrupted the chatter to remind his colleagues about a floor vote scheduled for 12:30. It was a different picture of Congress than we had observed from simply reading the news.

Office: Common Cause National

Issues: Media and Democracy

Tags: Net Neutrality

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