The free flow of information and the exchange of ideas and information are essential to any democracy, and in the past decade the Internet has become essential to citizen dialog.
Like radio, TV, and news publishing before it, the Internet serves more than the businesses who profit from it: it serves the people and the society who rely on it for valuable news and information. The Internet cannot be controlled or dominated by any individuals, groups, or organization who can drown out smaller or less powerful voices.
The Open Internet — or network neutrality — is the principle of online fairness. It enables users to access the services they want — and to express themselves online — without meddling by Internet Service Providers (ISP) or those with the most money.
Advocates for net neutrality won an important battle last year when over four million citizen comments pushed the FCC to vote to establish strong safeguards for free expression on the Internet, thereby defeating those who wanted to be able to create, and charge for, varying tiers of service. But recent efforts are threatening the FCC’s ability to enforce its own Open Internet rules.
The Battle for an Open Internet is Still On
While the House of Representatives chose not to include a threatened rider in the December 2015 Omnibus spending bill that would have prohibited the FCC from regulating Internet rates under its new net neutrality rules, the fight to ensure a free and open Internet is far from over.
Opponents of net neutrality likely will try again to prevent the FCC from overseeing the rates that companies like Comcast or Verizon charge customers for Internet access.
Advocates of a free and open Internet must continue to put pressure on the FCC to do its part to protect net neutrality and avoid a tiered Internet, with ISPs serving as gatekeepers for their subscribers.
Posted on Mar 6 at 12:00 AM