A Landmark Year in the Fight for Your Rights to Connect and Communicate
Our membership base grew (and grew and grew) this year: We now stand more than 0 strong.
In 2014, Free Press helped inspire an unprecedented number of people to take up the fight for Net Neutrality. Here are a few reasons why the open Internet matters to so many people:
"[The Internet] has been our commons, our free speech. If you’re a millionaire talking in the town square, you can shout, but if you’re a poor person you have to whisper. … We are not going to allow the Internet to be divided up into haves and have-nots."
"The Internet opened the world up, but without Title II protection we’ll be stuck in this little pool again, reduced to sipping at the world through a tiny straw."
"It took 1 million tweets before the media covered Ferguson."
"I’m living proof that when you have an open network that empowers the least among us to become creators you are literally saving lives."
"I’m a single mother to two children. My oldest son is severely disabled. In order to provide better for them and get him the best healthcare I can, I’ve gone back to school online, because working two jobs, that’s the only way I can go. Net Neutrality keeps my tuition affordable for my life situation. Take that away, and you jack up my tuition, and the tuition of thousands of parents like me, which will result in many if not most or all of us being unable to continue our education in the only way that works for our lives: online."
"As a disabled veteran, Net Neutrality is extremely important to me. I schedule a lot of my appointments online and discuss results of tests with my doctor online as well. I am not a rich man, I make just a little above minimum wage. Asking those like me to pay more for what should be free would ultimately be detrimental to me and those like me."
"I graduated from university in 2010. Hiring was at an all-time low. If I wanted my dream job I knew I would have to create it. I am elated about the prospect of creating jobs for others in my community as I see many struggling to find work. The Internet allows entrepreneurs to build startups with relatively low overhead. It is the newest and arguably greatest platform to foster the American dream of creating a better life for yourself and others within your community."
"I’m a small-business owner, as is my wife-to-be. I’m one of the little guys, the upstarts, and someday, maybe I’ll be a huge success. It will take powerful content, relentless self-promotion, sincere networking and constant education. Those are all things that the Internet as it exists today offers. It also offers my voice and my vision to be broadcast under the same rules as any of the major players. I don’t have the money to sway your opinion. But for now at least, I have equal access to this website, and I’m going to use that access to tell you to leave this powerful tool for innovation we call the Internet the hell alone."
We united and led a coalition of new and longstanding allies to campaign nonstop throughout 2014.
We built a diverse and wide-ranging movement to maximize our impact. From day one we worked together to organize events, mobilize the public, lobby Capitol Hill, pressure President Obama, and get the truth out in the press.
Throughout 2014 we coordinated closely with our partners in the Voices for Internet Freedom Coalition: the Center for Media Justice, ColorOfChange.org and the National Hispanic Media Coalition. Along with 18 Million Rising and Presente.org, we built support for Net Neutrality within communities of color and addressed why we need the open Internet to achieve racial justice.
On Sept. 10, we teamed up with our Battle for the Net partners Demand Progress, Engine Advocacy and Fight for the Future to launch the 24-hour Internet Slowdown. More than 40,000 sites — including Netflix, Tumblr and Etsy — displayed slow-loading icons to show what a world without Net Neutrality could look like. The action drove more than 2 million emails and nearly 300,000 comments to Congress and 722,364 comments to the FCC.
Free Press was all over the news in 2014, steering the public narrative in the Net Neutrality debate. We debunked industry lies and misinformation— and got the truth out.
We proved that Title II wouldn’t harm investment. We proved that it wouldn’t lead to new taxes. We proved that it would protect users, preserve the Internet’s level playing field, foster free expression, and promote innovation. One by one we toppled the cable lobby’s fibs — until the companies had nothing left to stand on.
Free Press earned more than 0 media hits from outlets including the BBC, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The New Yorker, NPR and PBS.
A Knight Foundation study named Free Press President and CEO Craig Aaron one of the biggest influencers in the media’s coverage of the Net Neutrality debate — second only to HBO’s John Oliver.
Free Press’ detailed FCC filings built the definitive case for reclassifying broadband providers under Title II. Our research unified the movement around a shared position, boosting the power and effectiveness of our allies.
In 2014, we filed more than 0 pages of Net Neutrality analysis with the FCC.
Free Press doesn’t take a penny from business, government or political parties. We rely on contributions from individuals and charitable foundations to fuel our work.
Our 9,000 donors to Free Press and the Free Press Action Fund helped us stay independent and fight for the public interest.
"Free Press is doing some of the most important work of our day to make sure the Internet remains free, democratic and accessible to all. Their success is everyone’s success."
"As I was sorting through Free Press’ mail recently, I came across an envelope with a San Francisco postmark and ‘Homeless in California’ written in place of a return address. Inside was a $5 bill. I’m just staggered at how in these tough times, our supporters are still willing to forego buying things they want or need so they can donate to us."
"Free Press is the only charity I give to every month."
We Did It: FCC Chairman Wheeler
Embraces Title II!
"I am submitting to my colleagues the strongest open Internet protections ever proposed by the FCC."
On Feb. 4, Wheeler confirmed that he would base new Net Neutrality rules on Title II. These rules, Wheeler said, would ban blocking, throttling and paid prioritization — and for the first time ever such protections would also apply to mobile broadband.
The cable-lobby spin machine and Net Neutrality opponents in Congress kicked into overdrive as soon as Wheeler made his announcement. But Free Press once again mobilized the public to fight back — and on Feb. 26, the FCC passed these rules into law.
"Today is the proudest day of my public policy life."
Protecting this win will require ongoing leadership, creative tactics, sustained public pressure — and your support.
Free Press is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that does not endorse or oppose any candidate for office.