AUSTIN — On Sunday evening, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled MayorsForNetNeutrality.org, urging mayors and city leaders to sign the Cities Open Internet Pledge.
The pledge requires all internet providers that do business with participating cities to follow strong Net Neutrality principles. It already has 12 signers, including Mayor de Blasio, Mayor Steve Adler of Austin, Mayor Ted Wheeler of Portland, Mayor Mark Farrell of San Francisco and Mayor Jacob Frey of Minneapolis.
In collaboration with the mayors, Free Press created the MayorsForNetNeutrality.org website to allow residents of any U.S. city to contact their local mayors and city leaders and urge them to sign the pledge.
Signers agree that their cities will only do business with “companies that do not block, throttle, or provide paid prioritization of content on sites that cities run to provide critical services and information to their residents,” according to the pledge.
The action is the mayors’ response to the Federal Communications Commission’s unpopular 2017 decision to strip internet users of Net Neutrality protections. The FCC vote has sparked a national movement to restore open internet protections. In addition to this new initiative by the mayors, a congressional resolution of disapproval has gained hundreds of co-sponsors in the House and Senate and dozens of states are weighing legislation to restore Net Neutrality protections.
“Corporate greed is the only reason Net Neutrality is gone,” Mayor de Blasio said on Sunday during an appearance at the SXSW conference in Austin. “To help even the playing field, New York City is going to hit companies in the only place they seem to feel it: their bottom line. When the federal government fails to protect consumers, cities must band together to take action. New York City is leading the charge by establishing the Cities Open Internet Pledge.”
“Town by town, city by city, local leaders are taking back everyone's right to connect and communicate,” said Timothy Karr, senior director of strategy and communications for Free Press. “By signing the Cities Open Internet Pledge, mayors are posing a direct challenge to the FCC's wrong-headed decision to gut Net Neutrality protections. They're saying that access to an open internet is vital to the livelihood of cities and their inhabitants. If bureaucrats in Washington, D.C., won't protect Net Neutrality, local leaders are obligated to step up for the people they represent and defend the open internet safeguards that are essential to a healthy democracy.”
Mayors and local leaders who have signed the pledge as of Monday morning:
Mayor Bill de Blasio — New York, New York
Mayor Steve Adler — Austin, Texas
Mayor Ted Wheeler — Portland, Oregon
Mayor Ron Nirenberg — San Antonio, Texas
Mayor Sly James — Kansas City, Missouri
Mayor Mark Farrell — San Francisco, California
Mayor Catherine E. Pugh — Baltimore, Maryland
Mayor Barney Seney — Putnam, Connecticut
Mayor Paul Soglin — Madison, Wisconsin
Mayor Sam Liccardo — San Jose, California
Mayor Jacob Frey — Minneapolis, Minnesota
County Board of Supervisors Chair Zach Friend — Santa Cruz County, California