Internet Day of Action's Title II Advocates Speak Out
Title II fans were showing their support on the internet day of action, both by praising the FCC's current rules and by taking aim at the proposal by FCC chairman Ajit Pai to roll back Title II and reconsider the 2015 Open Internet order.
“INCOMPAS is proud to join and support the net neutrality day of action," said CEO Chip Pickering. "A free and open internet is both an economic engine and the greatest free speech platform in history. We are proud to stand with those defending net neutrality against attempts by large cable and phone companies seeking to block, throttle and control the internet through paid prioritization schemes.”
INCOMPAS even made its point graphically, literally waving the flag for Title II.
“Today I stand with those who believe that a free and open internet is a foundational principle of our democracy," said FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, who voted against the proposal to roll back Title II. "Its benefits can be felt across our economy and around the globe. That is why I am excited that on this day consumers, entrepreneurs and companies of all sizes, including broadband providers and internet startups, are speaking out with a unified voice in favor of strong net neutrality rules grounded in Title II. Knowing that the arc of success is bent in our favor and we are on the right side of history, I remain committed to doing everything I can to protect the most empowering and inclusive platform of our time.”
"The open Internet is a place for authentic storytelling by Latinos and communities of color, whose voices have been misrepresented or underrepresented by traditional media,” said Carmen Scurato, director of policy and legal affairs for the National Hispanic Media Coalition, which says undoing Title II would "slash the legal foundation" for online protections. “Strong net neutrality rules, that prevent corporate gatekeepers from standing in the way of how we access and use the internet, ensure that historically underserved communities will be heard online."
NHMC has asked for an extension of the deadlines for comment on Pai's proposal to roll back Title II classification of ISPs, saying the FCC had not been responsive to FOIA requests to disclose all open internet consumer complaints since the 2015 Open Internet order.
"The facts are clear: The current net neutrality rules are working, they are popular, and they have been upheld in court challenges not once but twice," said Public Knowledge. "No one should have to pay an extra toll or get permission from their broadband provider to deliver their content or services to consumers online. It’s time to take a stand to preserve these hard-fought rules that protect the internet and internet users everywhere, and the movement starts today."
"Net neutrality is essential to 21st Century democracy," said Michael Copps, former FCC chairman and special advisor to Common Cause. "Without real open internet protections, Big Cable gatekeepers are free to filter dissent and stifle online organizing. That's why millions of Americans—and so many of companies—are speaking with one voice. We will never compromise online free speech."
“The FCC needs to listen to the public, not just lobbyists from big cable companies," said Evan Greer, campaign director for organizer Fight for the Future. "Today, the Internet is showing its political power. No one wants companies like Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon to have control over what we can see and do online, or to have to pay them extra fees to access the content we want.
"The Internet is outraged by censorship and corruption, this is our moment to defend net neutrality and fight for the future of freedom of expression. Lawmakers in Washington, DC need to understand that if they stand idly by and allow the FCC to gut these rules that are overwhelmingly supported by voters from across the political spectrum, they will be seen as enemies of the Internet and enemies of free speech.”
Elsewhere, Democratic legislators from both Houses of Congress collected atnoonon the Capitol Grounds with activists to fight for Title II, while House Energy & Commerce Committee Democrats planned a Facebook gathering at2 p.m.to do the same.
(Photo via Rock1997. Image taken on Jan. 18, 2017 and used per Creative Commons 2.0 license. The photo was cropped to fit 3x4 aspect ratio.)
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Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.
By David Bloom