“Red Alert for Net Neutrality” Hitting the Hill Today
Internet users from coast-to-coast are calling, emailing, tweeting, and knocking on the doors of their U.S. senators today in a “Red Alert for Net Neutrality.”
The national effort by Common Cause and an array of other public interest groups, web companies, and small businesses, is aimed at securing 51 votes in the Senate to force action on a resolution to overturn the Federal Communications Commission’s decision to roll back open internet protections the FCC approved just three years ago.
Sen. Edward Markey, D-MA, and other Senate Democrats are filing 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 Without those rules, which the current FCC largely repealed in 2017, the ISPs could slow down or even block the delivery of content they don’t like.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.”