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September 08 2014


Net neutrality means that all traffic on the internet is treated equally. Anyone can start up a website and make it instantly available to the world on an equal basis as the biggest, richest corporations and most powerful governments. Net neutrality is an anti-discrimination policy for the net, and we are on the verge of losing it.

Under a new set of rules put forward by the FCC, the oligopolies that provide internet access in the US would be allowed to begin charging content providers for differential treatment—essentially creating a “fast lane” on the internet for content providers who can afford to pay while relegating those who can’t to a lower quality of service.

This would end the era of democratic access that has driven unprecedented innovation, creativity, and empowerment for millions of people online. 

US broadband infrastructure is privately owned and operated by huge companies that often enjoy a near-monopoly position in their markets. According to FCC data, as of December 2012, nearly 30 percent of US households had only one choice for broadband provider. Monopoly holders have little incentive to weaken their profits by investing in infrastructure to improve service, so unsurprisingly the US is falling behind on global comparisons of broadband speed.

July 16 2014


The outpouring to support what's generally called "network neutrality" has taken the form of letters and official filings to the FCC website, as well as more public campaigns in recent months. It's been gratifying to watch, but don't get your hopes up: the FCC chairman, former cable and wireless industry lobbyist Tom Wheeler, floated the idea of internet "fast lanes" earlier this year – and he'll probably to turn the web into a somewhat enhanced form of cable TV anyway.

Officially, the FCC says it will read and reply to you by September, then make an official ruling on whether all web traffic should be treated equally. That decision, probably later this year, will have an enormous impact on our digital futures, because an internet controlled by huge and unaccountable corporations is anathema to digital innovation and free speech itself.

What should we be doing in this interim, and into the future? We need to keep up the pressure, because you can be sure that Big Telecom – which has patience, massive amounts of money and deep ties with lawmakers and regulators – will be doing precisely that.

July 15 2014


June 06 2014


The Federal Communications Commission has proposed rules that would allow rampant discrimination online.

Under these rules, telecom giants like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon would be able to create a two-tiered Internet, with fast lanes for those who can afford it and dirt roads for the rest of us. These companies would be able to pick winners and losers online and discriminate against online content and applications. And no one would be able to do anything about it.

Sen. Ed Markey is circulating a letter among his colleagues that urges the FCC to reclassify Internet service providers as common carriers. This is the only way — and we mean the only way — to protect REAL Net Neutrality.

Pick up the phone. Ask your senators to stand up for the open Internet and sign Sen. Markey's letter.

April 25 2014

The former cable and wireless industry lobbyist Tom Wheeler is re-writing rules in favor of the telecom giants – not you, me or the internet. Here's what you can do to stop him
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