Starting this Wednesday, Net Neutrality supporters will raise the alarm in defense of an open internet.
Since December of last year — when the Federal Communications Commission voted to strip internet users of their Net Neutrality protections — millions of advocates of every political stripe have been organizing to nullify the ruling and restore the safeguards we expect every time we go online.
This week and next, we’re joining with organizations and online companies calling on the Senate to pass a “resolution of disapproval.” If both chambers pass it and the president signs it, the resolution would reinstate the Net Neutrality protections we won in 2015. These baseline open-internet rules prevent companies like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon from interfering with our rights to connect and communicate.
But how did we get to where we are today, and what can people do to stop the Trump administration and big phone and cable companies from killing Net Neutrality?Here’s the rundown.
How did we lose Net Neutrality?
We won Net Neutrality protections in 2015 after a decade-long battle to determine whether internet users or the companies that sell online access would control the internet.
A 2015 FCC ruling created the legal foundation for real Net Neutrality, giving internet users the right to choose what they do, where they go and who they connect with online.
This victory was an unprecedented win for the public interest against the forces of an immensely powerful corporate lobby that had spent hundreds of millions of dollars on lawyers, PR firms, lobbyists and campaign contributions in a failed bid to take over the internet.
But in 2017 the Trump administration put in place a new FCC chairman — former Verizon lawyer Ajit Pai — who from day one declared his intention to do the bidding of phone and cable companies and repeal the historic 2015 rules.
On Dec. 14, 2017, Pai’s FCC voted along party lines to dismantle Net Neutrality protections, abdicating the agency’s legal authority to safeguard internet users, and clearing the way for internet providers to block or throttle online content.
Pai pushed through this ruling despite the flood of support from tens of millions of people who favored keeping the Net Neutrality protections.
Pai continues to declare that his decision was based on proof that Net Neutrality rules had hobbled investment and innovation — and yet he’s failed to produce a shred of evidence to support these claims. That’s because none exists.
How do we plan to win it back?
From the day of the 2017 vote to repeal Net Neutrality, open-internet advocates have fought to restore our rights.
Free Press and our allies are taking the FCC to court — challenging its reversal on the proper definition of broadband, its flawed justifications for tossing out the rules, and the many process fouls that plagued the FCC’s 2017 proceeding.
Since then we’ve worked tirelessly to build our case against the legal, factual and moral failings that the FCC majority used to prop up its unjustified decision.