A Great Day for the Internet – and for Democracy

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  • Dale Eisman
Common Cause Leaders Hail FCC Votes Creating Strong Open Internet Rules and Nurturing Community Broadband Networks

Statement by Common Cause President Miles Rapoport

The FCC has delivered a powerful one-two punch for Internet users and for the kind of open, robust debate that is vital to a successful democracy. Thanks to today’s action on net neutrality, candidates of every party and advocates of every cause can be assured of equal access to our electronic town square. And because the commission has moved to protect the development of community-owned broadband networks, commercial Internet service providers have a powerful new incentive to offer fast, reliable service at a reasonable cost.

These votes also are a reminder that citizen voices can still make a difference in our democracy. More than 4 million Americans contacted the FCC to voice their support for strong open Internet protections. Arrayed against them were companies that each year spend millions of dollars to elect candidates and millions more to lobby officeholders and regulators on behalf of corporate interests; the FCC deserves great credit for resisting those pressures and acting in the public interest.  

Statement by Michael Copps, former FCC Commissioner and now special adviser to Common Cause

“If the FCC merely reversed the worst decision in its history that would be a tremendous victory. However today, the FCC did that and more. It enshrined real Open Internet protection for all broadband consumers, including mobile.”

“And it didn’t stop there. By preempting community broadband restrictions in North Carolina and Tennessee, it gave a booster shot to competition in an industry that sorely lacks it, and dealt a major blow to the forces of Big Cable and Big Telecom.”

“The FCC has never done a better job of serving the public interest. History will greatly note and long remember the leadership of Chairman Wheeler and Commissioners Clyburn and Rosenworcel.”


Common Cause has supported strong Open Internet guarantees for over a decade. Since joining Common Cause in 2012, former Commissioner Copps has traveled the country to rally support for net neutrality protection under Title II of the Telecommunications Act. Common Cause was prominent in a coalition of groups that together collected more than 4 million signatures on petitions and other appeals to the FCC in support of Open Internet protections. Before joining Common Cause, Commissioner Copps voted against the 2002 cable modem classification order, and has opposed it since. Today’s ruling reverses that decision.

Common Cause also is a longtime supporter of community broadband development. A report by Common Cause and the Institute for Local Self-Reliance on industry attempts to stifle development of a popular community broadband network in Wilson, N.C. was cited by the Obama administration last month as the White House urged FCC action to protect community broadband.