Letter to Chairman Pai, Senators Thune and Nelson to Protect Net Neutrality

March 7, 2017



March 7, 2017

The Honorable Ajit Pai
Chairman
Federal Communications Commission
445 12th St SW
Washington, D.C. 20536


The Honorable John Thune
Chairman
U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation
Washington, D.C. 20510


The Honorable Bill Nelson
Ranking Member
U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation
Washington, D.C. 20510


Dear Chairman Pai and Senators Thune and Nelson,


Protecting net neutrality is crucial to ensuring that the internet remains a central driver of economic growth and opportunity, job creation, education, free expression, and civic organizing for everyone. The principles of net neutrality – that all data on the internet should be treated equally, and internet service providers (ISPs) should not discriminate or provide preference to any data, regardless of its source, content, or destination – are the foundation that has made the internet the engine of opportunity it is today. The continuation of net neutrality is essential to the continued growth of the country and to ensuring access to social, political, and economic empowerment for all.

In 2015, millions of people made their support for net neutrality clear in comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) supporting the Open Internet Order. The order, which reclassified broadband internet under Title II, enshrined the principles of net neutrality in law, and gave the FCC the authority to enforce it. As a result, broadband providers cannot block users’ access to content, slow down connections to services, or charge for speedier delivery of preferred content.

Since the order went into effect, broadband infrastructure investment is up, ISP revenues are at record highs, and businesses continue developing innovative ideas and offerings. A 2016 report found that the total capital expenditures of ISPs increased by 4 percent and that total revenues increased by 5 percent from 2014 to 2015. Moreover, we consistently see businesses innovate and create new ways to provide fresh content and better services to consumers.

We, the undersigned organizations, representing a diverse group of consumer, media, technology, library, arts, civil liberties, and civil rights advocates and content creators, urge you and your colleagues to oppose legislation and regulatory actions that would threaten net neutrality and roll back the important protections put in place by the FCC in 2015, and to continue to enforce the Open Internet Order as it stands.

Net neutrality supports and protects these basic values:

  • Competition: Net neutrality helps to ensure that all companies, from small startups to larger companies, have equal access to consumers online. It allows companies to fairly compete for customers within their market and incentivizes the development of new services and tools for consumers. This competition is the engine of the U.S. economy, and should be promoted.
  • Innovation: Net neutrality makes it possible for new companies and new technologies to emerge and ensures that broadband providers do not create undue burdens and cost barriers that can harm small businesses and undermine job growth.
  • Free Speech: Net neutrality ensures that everyone with access to the internet can organize and share their opinions online equally, a key safeguard for our democracy. It ensures that ISPs are not arbiters of speech and expression online by favoring particular forums or providing enhanced access to specific content and audiences.
  • Equality of Access: Net neutrality ensures that access to websites and content is based on individual preferences. This means content creators are not forced to pay ISPs for content distribution in order to reach consumers. It also means that end users are able to access all the content they desire without restrictions from ISPs. This allows all people in the U.S. to access essential healthcare services, educational resources, and employment opportunities and the freedom to choose from the full spectrum of online content. It means that a small church staffed by volunteers has the same opportunity to reach the public as a large media corporation with an unlimited budget. At a time when there is bipartisan agreement in Congress that we must increase internet access to all people and bridge the digital divide, the quality of this access is just as essential.

In order to promote continued economic, social, and political growth and innovation, it is imperative that the internet remain open and accessible to all people in the future. We strongly urge you and your colleagues to protect the free and open internet and the benefits it provides to for all people.

Sincerely,


18MillionRising.org
Access Humboldt
Access Now
Access Sonoma Broadband
act.tv
Akaku Maui Community Media
Alliance of South Asians Taking Action
Allied Media Projects
3
Alternate ROOTS
American Association of Law Libraries
American Civil Liberties Union
American Folklore Society
American Library Association
Appalshop, Inc.
Arts & Democracy
Asamblea de Derechos Civiles
Association of American University Presses
Association of Research Libraries
Benton Foundation
Bill of Rights Defense Committee/Defending Dissent Foundation
Brattleboro Community Television, Brattleboro VT
Brown Boi Project
California Center for Rural Policy
CASH Music
Center for Democracy & Technology
Center for Digital Democracy
Center for Media & Democracy - Burlington VT
Center for Media and Democracy
Center for Media Justice
Center for Popular Democracy
Center for Rural Strategies
Central Appalachia Regional Network
Champaign-Urbana Citizens for Peace and Justice
Civic Hall
Color Of Change
Common Cause
4
Common Frequency
Consumers Union
Courage Campaign
CREDO
Daily Kos
Dance/USA
Demand Progress
Democracy for America
Dignity and Power Now
Easton Community Access Television
Electronic Frontier Foundation
Ella Baker Center for Human Rights
Engine
EveryLibrary
FAIR
Faithful Internet
Fight for the Future
Forward Together
Fractured Atlas
Free Press
Free Speech Coalition
FREE! Families Rally for Emancipation and Empowerment
Future of Music Coalition
Generation Justice
Global Action Project
Greater Northshire Access Television
Greenlining Institute
Greenpeace USA
5
Hardwick Community Television, Inc.
Highlander Research and Education Center
Hollaback!
Hollow Earth Radio
Hope Community/SPEAC
Illinois Campaign for Prison Phone Justice
Institute for Local Self-Reliance
Iraq Veterans Against the War
Kingdom Access Television
KPPP-LP 88.1 FM Radio
KRSM - The Southside Media Project
Lake Champlain Access Television
League of American Orchestras
Line Break Media
Mad River Valley Television, Inc.
Making Contact
Martinez Street Women's Center
May First People Link
Media Action Center
Media Action Grassroots Network
Media Alliance
Media Mobilizing Project
MediaVox
Mexican American Opportunity Foundation
Million Hoodies Movement for Justice
MomsRising.org
Movement Strategy Center
MoveOn.org Civic Action
6
Museums and the Web
National Association of Latino Independent Producers (NALIP)
National Coalition Against Censorship
National Consumer Law Center, on behalf of its low-income clients
National Digital Inclusion Alliance
National Domestic Workers Alliance
National Economic & Social Rights Initiative (NESRI)
National Federation of Community Broadcasters
National Guestworker Alliance
National Hispanic Media Coalition
National Organization for Women
National Performance Network & Visual Artists Network
Native Public Media
Netroots Nation
New America's Open Technology Institute
New Music USA
New Orleans Workers Center for Racial Justice
Open Access Connections
Open MIC (Open Media and Information Companies Initiative)
OpenMedia
OpenTheGovernment.org
Opera America
Other Worlds
Other98
OVEC-Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition
PEN America
People's Action
People's Press Project
7
Performing Arts Alliance
PhillyCAM
Popular Resistance
Presente.org
Progressive Change Campaign Committee
Progressive Technology Project
Prometheus Radio Project
Public Knowledge
Race Forward
Racial Justice Action Center
Rewire
Right To The City Alliance
RootsAction.org
RYSE Center
Southerners On New Ground
SouthWest Organizing Project
SPNN
Stop LAPD Spying Coalition
Student Power Networks
SumOfUs
Sunlight Foundation
The Alliance for Media Arts and Culture
The Authors Guild
The Harry Potter Alliance
The Media Consortium
The Nation
The People's Press Project
Theatre Communications Group
8
TURN–The Utility Reform Network
U.S. Department of Arts and Culture
United Church of Christ, OC Inc.
United Plant Savers
United We Dream
Urban Librarians Unite
Urbana Champaign Independent Media Center
Virginia Rural Health Association
Voices for Racial Justice
VOTE MOB
WAFLS
WFNU-LP Frogtown Community Radio (Frogtown Neighborhood Association)
Within Our Lifetime
WITNESS
WNC Communities
Women, Action, and the Media
Women's Institute for Freedom of the Press
Women's Media Center
Woodhull Freedom Foundation
Working Narratives
Writers Guild of America, West
X-Lab
Young Women United

READ: Letter to Chairman Pai, Senator Thune and Nelson to protect net neutrality


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