WASHINGTON — On Wednesday, Free Press submitted reply comments in the Federal Communications Commission’s latest Net Neutrality proceeding, calling out Chairman Ajit Pai for his dangerous scheme to dismantle vital open-internet protections.
The Free Press filing offers still more proof that the FCC’s 2015 Open Internet Order, enacted during the previous presidential administration, was followed by two-and-a-half years of growth in broadband investment and innovation. It also gave internet users necessary assurances that their service providers will not block, throttle or discriminate against their online communications.
Free Press writes that the overwhelming evidence showing that the rules are working has fallen on deaf ears in Chairman Pai’s office, which is “so hell-bent on repealing the Open Internet Order” that it has “sacrificed reasoned decision-making for procedural missteps and substantive fallacies, closing its mind to the facts on the record.”
The full filing is available here: https://www.freepress.net/sites/default/files/resources/free_press_reply_comments_open_internet_proceeding.pdf
Under Pai, the FCC voted in May to begin a rulemaking process to jettison the Title II legal framework put in place by the previous FCC and once again place broadband-access providers under Title I of the Communications Act — ending Net Neutrality as we know it while also jeopardizing broadband-privacy rights and FCC broadband-affordability programs.
More than 21 million comments have been filed in the FCC docket. Even a recent study funded by internet service providers opposed to real Net Neutrality rules found that 98.5 percent of people who wrote unique comments want the agency to preserve the 2015 Net Neutrality rules that Chairman Pai is attempting to destroy.
Free Press Policy Counsel Gaurav Laroia made the following statement:
“People want the FCC to keep the 2015 Net Neutrality rules in place. So do racial- and social-justice advocates, artists, app makers, edge companies and even dozens of smaller ISPs. The evidence is undeniable that investment and innovation have flourished under these rules. Net Neutrality is a smashing success, and everyday internet users know it.
“The outpouring of support for these rules shows that people understand the high stakes in play here and are raising their voices to participate in their democracy. Chairman Pai and his allies in the phone and cable lobby should wake up and listen to these internet users instead of trying to delegitimize and suppress their voices.
“Reclassifying internet access providers as common carriers under Title II was the best and only path to enforceable Net Neutrality rules that stand up in court. The current rules address not just throttling, blocking and paid prioritization by broadband providers but other unreasonably discriminatory and harmful practices. These protections allow entrepreneurs to compete in the online marketplace without having to cough up extra fees to ISPs to reach customers.
“The rules also make it possible for activists, dissidents and speakers of all political stripes to connect and communicate without worrying that their ISPs will interfere. Thanks to Net Neutrality, organizers working to create a society in which Black lives matter don’t have to worry about having their voices blocked by a broadband provider that wants to silence their speech.
“Even as Net Neutrality opponents invested considerable time and resources in filing fake comments and spreading misinformation about the rules, millions of real people took the time to tell the FCC why the open internet is so important to them. Chairman Pai should listen and abandon this ill-conceived and wasteful proceeding.”