Net Neutrality in the U.S. Reaches a Tipping Point

We’ve spent years working to advance net neutrality all around the world. This year, net neutrality in the United States became a core focus of ours because of the major U.S. court decision striking down the existing Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules. The pressure for change in the U.S. has continued to grow, fueled by a large coalition of public interest organizations, including Mozilla, and by the voices of millions of individual Americans.

In May, we filed a petition to the FCC to propose a new path forward to adopt strong, user- and innovation-protecting rules once and for all. We followed that up by mobilizing our community, organizing global teach-ins on net neutrality, and submitting initial comments and reply comments to the agency. We also joined a major day of action and co-authored a letter to the President. We care about this issue.

Net neutrality has now reached a tipping point. As the days grow shorter, the meetings on the topic grow longer. We believe the baseline of what we can expect has gone up, and now, rumored likely outcomes all include some element of Title II, or common carrier, protections sought by advocates against significant opposition. We don’t know what that will look like, or whether the baseline has come up enough. Still, we are asking the FCC for what we believe the open Internet needs to ensure a level playing field for user choices and innovation.

Our baseline:
• Strong rules against blocking and discrimination online, to prevent the open, generative Internet from being closed off by gatekeepers in the access service;
• Title II in the “last mile” – the local portion of the network controlled by the Internet access service provider – to help ensure the FCC’s authority to issue net neutrality rules will survive challenge; and
• The same framework and rules applied to mobile as well as fixed access services.

Our Petition focused on the question of where the FCC derives its authority. We told the FCC we support both hybrid classification proposals and reclassification, and, choosing between the two, we prefer reclassification as the simplest, cleanest path forward. But we believe both paths would allow the FCC to adopt the same strong rules to protect the open Internet, and survive court review.

We don’t know where this proceeding will end up. We will continue to do whatever we can to achieve our baseline. Stay tuned.