Your Guide To The Net Neutrality Fight’s Final Weeks

Your Guide To The Net Neutrality Fight's Final Weeks

All eyes are on the FCC this week as they gear up to release their proposed Open Internet rules, which they'll vote on at their February 26th meeting. Here's a preview of what's to come, and a few potential pitfalls:

All eyes are on the FCC this week as they gear up to release their proposed Open Internet rules, which they’ll vote on at their February 26th meeting.

After a year of speaking out with rallies, phone calls, and FCC comments, we’re on the cusp of winning full net neutrality — no fast lanes for the few, no watered-down compromises.

But there’s still a few hurdles left — here’s a look at what’s ahead:

1) Release of Draft Rules

As soon as the FCC releases their rules, we’ll go through them with a fine tooth comb. If there are any major problems here – like last minute compromises on paid prioritization (“fast lanes”), we’ll let you – and the FCC – know about it. Get ready to call, email, and tweet about it during the “3 week sprint” until the actual vote on Feb 26.

2) Interference from Congress 

Much depends on Capitol Hill. Recently, Republican members introduced a bad bill with Big Cable’s backing that they said would protect the Open Internet, but actually strips the FCC’s ability to protect you. Meanwhile, telecom giants are looking for a lackey to introduce their own wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing bill to derail net neutrality. Fortunately, we also have strong champions in Congress, like Sen. Markey or Rep. Eshoo, who can encourage the FCC to do the right thing, and help fight off bad legislation. So keep up the pressure on Congress!

3) “Ex parte” … what? 

If we find any problems in the FCC’s rules, we have just two weeks to do something about it. We’re not expecting any make-or-break issues, but there’s always room to suggest improvements — but it’s also Big Cable’s last chance to scuttle net neutrality. These “ex parte presentations” are posted online for the public to read, so we’ll know when Comcast, Verizon, and all of their cronies visit the FCC. 

4) A ray of sunshine

Ex parte presentations are not allowed during the last week before the FCC finally votes. After hearing from the public, the industry, advocates, and everyone else, FCC staff in theory spend a week discussing the issue amongst themselves, making final decisions on the rules’ exact wording,  and so on. 

5) The big day 

The FCC will vote on net neutrality (and preempting bad ALEC legislation that outlaws municipal broadband!) on February 26th. We’ll rally outside and pack the hall. All signs point to a momentous day and a historic victory — so let’s keep it up!