Small Businesses to Rally for Net Neutrality

DENVER–Activists from around the state will rally at Senator Cory Gardner’s Denver office on Monday, May 14 at 5:30 PM in support of net neutrality.

The rally will highlight the importance of net neutrality protections for small business owners.

“Entrepreneurs across Colorado depend on a free and open internet,” said Caroline Fry, Advocacy & Media Manager with Colorado Common Cause. “Without net neutrality, internet service providers can block customers from viewing online content. Unless a small business owner can afford to pay for ‘priority access,’ their website may not be available to customers – which restricts their ability to participate and compete in the online marketplace.”

The goal of the rally is to pressure Senator Gardner to support a resolution that would overturn the Federal Communications Commission’s decision to roll back open internet protections last December. Sen. Edward Markey, D-MA, and other Senate Democrats filed a discharge petition on the resolution today to pry it from committee; Markey is believed to have commitments of support just shy of the 51 needed to force a vote.

“The Senate has an opportunity to take a major step forward in restoring the net neutrality rules,” Common Cause said in a statement supporting Markey’s effort. “The internet belongs to everyone and is vital to a functioning democracy. Whether accessing news and information, applying for jobs, starting a business, or doing homework, millions of Americans rely on equal access to the internet.”

Net Neutrality guarantees that everyone with an internet connection has an equal opportunity to share ideas, information and other content with everyone else who is connected. It has helped make the internet a kind of electronic town square.

Rules adopted by the FCC in 2015 barred internet service providers (ISPs) like Comcast and Verizon from creating fast and slow lanes for access to websites and levying extra fees for the use of the fast lanes. Without these rules, ISPs could slow down or even block the delivery of content they don’t like. For example, Comcast, which owns NBC, could keep entertainment and news programs produced by rivals like CNN and Fox News from reaching its broadband customers.

“It’s no surprise that the most recent polls show an overwhelming majority of Americans support the net neutrality rules” the Common Cause statement adds. “With this Senate vote, the American people will know who’s looking out for them and who’s looking out for the interests of the big internet service providers. People back home are watching, senators, and they will remember in November how you voted in May.”

Caroline Fry, Colorado Common Cause