On the heels of House Republicans flailing last month and throwing three of the worst Net Neutrality bills Congress has ever come up with on the table, Democrats have introduced legislation that would at long last bring us back to an internet where nondiscrimination is the baseline and the reign of consumer terror Ajit Pai has brought against Title II will be but a distant memory.
The Save the Internet Act is as straightforward as it gets and every member of Congress should get behind it.
And it won’t take long to read — it’s three pages. The legislation is a simple repeal of the decision Trump FCC Chairman Ajit Pai made in 2017 to undo the agency’s Net Neutrality protections. It restores the FCC’s 2015 Open Internet Order, which was heralded at the time as the greatest public-interest victory in the history of the agency.
A repeal of the repeal, if you will. Go ahead and take a quick read. We’ll be here when you get back.
If your members of Congress aren’t supporting it already, here are 6 reasons why they should get on board today.
1) Net Neutrality is the foundation of the internet. At the risk of saying something no one should need to say in 2019, Net Neutrality is the bedrock the open internet is built on. It’s what prevents companies like AT&T, Charter, Comcast and Verizon from deciding which content, websites or videos load quickly or at all. It creates the level playing field we need to preserve the internet as a disruptive, powerful engine for economic, social and cultural growth without gatekeepers.
2) The loss of Net Neutrality most impacts people of color. The open internet has created an avenue for people of color — who have historically been ignored, shut out and misrepresented by the mainstream media — to tell their own stories, launch successful businesses, report on the issues that have long gone uncovered in their communities and fight for equity and justice. From health care to housing justice, Net Neutrality has made it possible for people to communicate and organize without gatekeepers’ interference.
3) Everyone wants Net Neutrality — across the political and ideological spectrum. Only in Congress is Net Neutrality a partisan issue. If I had to guess, I would say that 100 percent of the people you talk to about this issue today will tell you that they don’t want Comcast slowing down websites. But I don’t have to guess. We have data on this. According to a 2018 study, 86 percent of voters supported the FCC’s 2015 Net Neutrality rules — including 82 percent of Republicans, 90 percent of Democrats and 85 percent of independents.
4) Net Neutrality’s popularity extends to the halls of Congress. In 2018, the Senate passed a resolution to restore the rules, and the measure gathered the support of nearly 200 members of the then-Republican-led House. The Save the Internet Act is already drawing tons of support in both chambers — and if last year’s fight is any indication, members of Congress who fail to get on board can expect to hear from constituents constantly until they do.
5) Net Neutrality is good for business. Despite what Chairman Pai wants you to believe, the 2015 rules didn’t hurt broadband deployment and innovation. In fact, Free Press showed that ISP investment in new networks was up under the FCC’s 2015 Title II protections. ISPs rolled out faster services, with the phone companies finally upping their game to compete with the cable industry’s swifter speeds.
6) This is an easy win for the people Congress is supposed to represent. D.C. politics are a gridlocked nightmare these days and lawmakers have a lot of urgent issues to address. Here’s one that could get done quickly, do a lot of good, make voters really happy and free up time for legislators to work on other critical issues.