One Step Closer to a Closed Internet

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Today, the FCC voted on Chairman Ajit Pai’s proposal to repeal and replace net neutrality protections enacted in 2015. The verdict: to move forward with Pai’s proposal

 

We’re deeply disheartened. Today’s FCC vote to repeal and replace net neutrality protections brings us one step closer to a closed internet.  Although it is sometimes hard to describe the “real” impacts of these decisions, this one is easy: this decision leads to an internet that benefits Internet Service Providers (ISPs), not users, and erodes free speech, competition, innovation and user choice.

This vote undoes years of progress leading up to 2015’s net neutrality protections. The 2015  rules properly place ISPs under “Title II” of the Communications Act of 1934, and through that well-tested basis of legal authority, prohibit ISPs from engaging in paid prioritization and blocking or throttling of web content, applications and services. These rules ensured a more open, healthy Internet.

Pai’s proposal removes the 2015 protections and re-re-classifies ISPs under “Title I,” which courts already have determined is insufficient for ensuring a truly neutral net. The result: ISPs would be able to once again prioritize, block and throttle with impunity. This means fewer opportunities for startups and entrepreneurs, and a chilling effect on innovation, free expression and choice online.

Net neutrality isn’t an abstract issue — it has significant, real-world effects. For example, in the past, without net neutrality protections, ISPs have imposed limits on who can FaceTime and determined how we stream videos, and also adopted underhanded business practices.

So what’s next and what can we do?

We’re now entering a 90-day public comment period, which ends in mid-August. The FCC may determine a path forward as soon as October of this year.

During the public comment period in 2015, nearly 4 million citizens wrote to the FCC, many of them demanding strong net neutrality protections.  We all need to show the same commitment again.

We’re already well on our way to making noise. In the weeks since Pai first announced his proposal, more than 100,000 citizens (not bots) have signed Mozilla’s net neutrality petition at mzl.la/savetheinternet. And countless callers (again, not bots) have recorded more than 50 hours of voicemail for the FCC’s ears. We need more of this.

We’re also planning strategic, direct engagement with policymakers, including through written comments in the FCC’s open proceeding. Over the next three months, Mozilla will continue to amplify internet users’ voices and fuel the movement for a healthy internet.

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