The FCC is voting tomorrow to decide the future of net neutrality. Millions of Americans have already spoken out in favor of keeping this popular rule, which has maintained a level playing field on the internet and ensured the same freedom of access to everyone. The Republican-controlled Commission led by FCC Chair and former Verizon corporate lawyer Ajit Pai plans to roll back net neutrality protections as a handout to the corporate internet service providers, telecom giants, and other special interests. The FCC is a public agency, but under Pai’s direction, they are on the verge of endorsing nationwide corporate censorship of the content we will be able to view online. That is wrong.
Without net neutrality, ISPs will be able to charge their customers more for less. Whether it’s paying a higher rate for access to a package of social media websites, emails, or the ability to stream content, the goal of repealing net neutrality is to charge many different rates instead of one flat rate for full internet access. This would also permit ISPs to unduly favor some types of content over others, favor certain websites, and block content that was previously available with net neutrality. These practices will hurt small businesses and entrepreneurs. Some may even be pushed out of business as a result of a rollback.
Freedom of information and freedom of the press are integral, fundamental rights of the people. Independent journalists rely on net neutrality to organically grow their audiences without having to be concerned about whether ISPs are favoring larger media over their own. Students require internet access to do their homework and stimulate their natural intellectual curiosity. Adults rely on the internet too, as job-seekers or as individuals who do business through the computer. For too many Americans in low-income and rural communities, internet access has not even been fully implemented. We must look to expand internet access, not restrict it to those who will struggle to afford to pay more. Investing in high-speed internet across the United States is good for our economy, our education system, and our democracy.
The fight to save net neutrality is indicative of the larger problems at work within our society and our government. Corporations, big banks, and other special interests are given the upper hand over ordinary consumers in almost every instance by politicians whose campaigns are funded by their PAC money contributions. Whether that upper hand comes in the form of repealing net neutrality, making it harder for people to pay back their student loans, or raising taxes on the middle class to pay for a corporate tax break, it’s clear that our politics are broken. We need to get corporations and special interests out of our legislative process, but first, we must make our voices heard in opposition to this terrible rollback attempt.
Add your name to our petition below to protect net neutrality, and call FCC Chair Ajit Pai at (202) 418-1000 to support this vital rule before tomorrow’s vote.
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