Grassroots Efforts to Save Net Neutrality May be Working
By Marguerite Reardon /

Concerned Internet users want to make sure that the FCC and Congress hear them when it comes to keeping the Internet open and free.

Digital-rights advocacy group Free Press, other groups such as, and mobile operator CREDO, which also has a social activist arm, have organized protests and phone and online campaigns to get the attention of regulators and elected officials in Washington, D.C.

In the latest move to draw attention to the issue, Free Press is organizing a public protest at 9 a.m. ET Thursday outside the Federal Communications Commission's headquarters in D.C., to coincide with the commission's open meeting where a new proposal to reinstate the FCC's Net neutrality rules will be considered. Hundreds of protesters are expected to show up to the rally and join the dozens of activists who have been taking turns since May 7 camping out in front of the FCC.

The protest will also continue online where the public is encouraged to contact congressional representatives and the FCC to support the adoption of strong Net neutrality rules.

"People realize what is at stake now. And they don't want the Internet turning into Comcast."
Becky Bond, political director, CREDO

It seems like the efforts thus far have had an effect as lawmakers, tech companies, and even fellow FCC commissioners have questioned FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler's proposal for reinstating Open Internet rules. On Monday, an FCC official confirmed that the chairman began circulating a revised proposal, which will be considered at Thursday's meeting. The Wall Street Journal was the first to reporton the chairman's revised proposal.

But activists say more needs to be done to ensure the Internet is protected.

"Chairman Wheeler is feeling the grassroots pressure against his pay-for-prioritization proposal," Free Press CEO Craig Aaron said in the announcement for Thursday's protest. "He needs to abandon the flimsy and failed legal approach of his predecessors and reclassify Internet service providers as the common carriers they are. If preventing fast and slow lanes on the Internet is the goal, reclassification is the way forward."

What happened to Net neutrality?

In January, the FCC lost a court battle against Verizon in which its 2010 Open Internet rules were thrown out due to a legal technicality. Last month, Wheeler began circulating a proposal he had come up with to reinstate the rules. This proposal, the details of which have not been released publicly, created a public backlash as digital activists expressed concern that it didn't go far enough in protecting the Internet.

Specifically, instead of reclassifying broadband traffic as a public utility, which would give the FCC authority to regulate the Internet as a "common carrier," the FCC chairman decided to take a different legal tack that critics say not only necessitates weaker rules but will also fail in court.

The most controversial item that resulted from this approach is the notion that broadband providers could be allowed to create paid prioritization services. These services would allow broadband providers to charge Internet content companies, such a Google or Netflix, a fee for priority access on broadband networks to ensure that their traffic would arrive at its destination more quickly than traffic that has not been prioritized. This so-called "fast lane" raised the ire of activists concerned that smaller content companies would be priced out of the market and that it could raise prices for consumers.

0.0 ·
What's Next
Trending Today
Noam Chomsky Has 'Never Seen Anything Like This'
Chris Hedges · 22,153 views today · Noam Chomsky is America’s greatest intellectual. His massive body of work, which includes nearly 100 books, has for decades deflated and exposed the lies of the power elite...
For Those Who Don't Want to Vote for the Lesser of Two Evils
Peter White · 17,859 views today · Ranked-choice voting is catching on, and Maine might become the first state to help citizens vote for candidates they actually want.
Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed (The Real Reason For The Forty-Hour Workweek)
David Cain · 11,944 views today · Well I’m in the working world again. I’ve found myself a well-paying gig in the engineering industry, and life finally feels like it’s returning to normal after my nine months...
Anarchists - What We Stand For
unknown · 10,731 views today · Anarchism : The word “anarchy” comes from Greek and means “no rulers”. As a political philosophy, anarchism is based on the idea that organization does not require rulers—that...
Donald Trump Is the Mirror and Hillary Clinton Is the Mask
Chris Agnos · 7,034 views today · Disclaimer: I do not support Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton for president. I think the scope of the political debate is far too narrow for the kinds of actions that need to...
10 Quotes From an Oglala Lakota Chief That Will Make You Question Everything About Our Society
Wisdom Pills · 6,421 views today · Luther Standing Bear was an Oglala Lakota Sioux Chief who, among a few rare others such as Charles Eastman, Black Elk and Gertrude Bonnin occupied the rift between the way of...
HyperNormalisation (2016)
161 min · 5,340 views today · We live in a time of great uncertainty and confusion. Events keep happening that seem inexplicable and out of control. Donald Trump, Brexit, the War in Syria, the endless...
Donald and Hobbes Is Genius
Various · 4,671 views today · Some clever folk have been replacing precocious 6-year-old Calvin, from the Calvin and Hobbes comic strips, with Donald Trump and the results are, well, take a look...
Gil Scott-Heron Deconstructs Colonialism and Black History in His Own Unique Style
3 min · 4,464 views today · His-Story: I was wondering about our yesterdays, and starting searching through the rubble and to say the very least, somebody went to a hell of a lot of trouble to make sure...
Our Obsession With 'Good Immigrants' Breeds Intolerance
2 min · 2,253 views today · Society sets the bar so high to become a 'good immigrant', argues writer Nikesh Shukla, that normal immigrants are demonised. He says non-Brits in the public eye have a simple...
My Cuba - An Intimate Look at the Pleasures and Struggles of 6 Different People's Cuba
150 min · 1,930 views today · Cuba - diverse, vibrant and complex - is undergoing immense change. But what does it mean to be Cuban in this time of change? Six people. Six films. From the comedy and ballet...
Today I Rise: This Beautiful Short Film Is Like a Love Poem For Your Heart and Soul
4 min · 1,766 views today · "The world is missing what I am ready to give: My Wisdom, My Sweetness, My Love and My hunger for Peace." "Where are you? Where are you, little girl with broken wings but full...
Lessons in the Calais Jungle: Teaching Life Stories and Learning About Humanity
Aura Lounasmaa · 1,424 views today · I am part of a team of academics teaching a course to residents in the Calais Jungle, a camp for migrants and refugees outside the French city. Life Stories in the Jungle has...
Bird Watching on Lesvos Island - A Poetic Call to Stand With Refugees
3 min · 1,139 views today · Born in Darfur, Sudan and raised in Philadelphia, Emi Mahmoud is the 2015 World Poetry Slam Champion and the Women of the World co-Champion of 2016. From a young age Emi...
Planet Earth II Could Be Best Nature Doc Ever Made
3 min · 1,074 views today · 10 years ago Planet Earth changed our view of the world. Now we take you closer than ever before. This is life in all its wonder. This is Planet Earth II. A decade ago, the...
What Makes Call-Out Culture So Toxic
Asam Ahmad · 858 views today · Call-out culture refers to the tendency among progressives, radicals, activists, and community organizers to publicly name instances or patterns of oppressive behaviour and...
The Important Difference Between Love and Being Loved
2 min · 810 views today · We talk of love as if it were just one thing: in fact, it’s two very different moves, Loving and Being Loved. You start to grow up when you stop focusing on the latter and get...
The White Man in That Photo
Riccardo Gazzaniga · 692 views today · Sometimes photographs deceive. Take this one, for example. It represents John Carlos and Tommie Smith’s rebellious gesture the day they won medals for the 200 meters at the...
The Untold History of Palestine & Israel
22 min · 624 views today · Previewing Abby Martin’s on-the-ground investigation in Palestine, The Empire Files looks at the long history of Zionist colonization, expansion and expulsion of Palestine’s...
Alliance of 600,000 British Doctors Calls for 'Imperative' Coal Phase-Out
Nadia Prupis · 582 views today · Doing so would constitute 'double win for tackling the twin health threats of air pollution and climate change,' report states
Load More
Like us on Facebook?
Grassroots Efforts to Save Net Neutrality May be Working