Net neutrality, again?
Yes, many of us are feeling “policy fatigue” around this issue, having won a great victory on this front in 2015, and now having to fight the fight all over again as the new FCC Chairman, Ajit Pai, has announced plans to undo rules that protect free speech on the Internet and allow giant internet providers like AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon to control what you see, do, and say online.
There are so many important policy battles to fight right now — is net neutrality really that important?
YES, because net neutrality isn’t just about technical details of how the Internet works; it’s about freedom and openness. It’s about providing equity to underserved populations, including those in rural areas. It’s about education, healthcare, and economic development. Perhaps most importantly it’s about giving a voice to political groups, activists, and everyday citizens who want to share ideas using channels other than the traditional gatekeepers.
THE TIME TO ACT IS NOW. The FCC is accepting comments on its proposed rollback of these rules until July 17. Two years ago, record numbers of comments affected policy positively, and we need to do that again. We need to pressure the FCC and Congress and show that the public won’t stand for this handout to big cable companies. Here are a few easy tools you can use to make your voice heard:
- Battle for the Net : Tool to send comments to the FCC and Congress
- DearFCC.org : Customizable comments to the FCC
- Save the Internet : Petition and background on net neutrality
- Protect Net Neutrality : Petition to FCC and members of House and Senate
Also July 12 is being designated as an Internet-wide day of action to save net neutrality. Please spread the word on this day through your organizational and personal web and social media sites.
Please share this information with others!
In addition, the Center for Rural Strategies is co-hosting the Appalachian Ohio-West Virginia Connectivity Summit, bringing together key players, including FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, to brainstorm strategies for bringing broadband access to our rural communities. This event will be held on July 18 in Marietta, Ohio. More information is available here.
You can also sign up for Rural Broadband Policy Group email listserv here.
Thank you for your help in amplifying the importance of this critical issue.