Victory for Net Neutrality – Let’s Take It Across the Finish Line

{Cross posted from Feb 4th blog post in Mozilla Blog. Added FAQ.}

Today, we heard that we’ve won a stunning victory in the fight to protect net neutrality. The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has put forward a draft proposal for strong, enforceable net neutrality rules based on classifying broadband as a Title II communications service.

We are on the cusp of meaningful protection for the free and open Web.  In the remaining days before the official vote on February 26th, policy makers will be subject to intense pressure from the cable and telecom industry lobby. So we need to keep working. To get net neutrality across the finish line, Mozilla is launching a campaign that enables our community to stand together and send a strong signal to Washington, DC policy makers.

The FCC’s proposal is consistent with what we all wanted.  It reclassifies broadband as a Title II communications service, giving the FCC the authority to prohibit blocking or slowing down content — in essence, ISPs will not be able to create Internet fast lanes for the few big corporate giants that can afford it, and slow lanes for the rest of us. The world is watching, and the decisions reached in the U.S. will influence the global policy approach.

But victory is never guaranteed.

There are a handful of powerful interests in the cable and telecom industry that want to control both what is possible and what is imaginable on the Web. They are scared of net neutrality because they want to decide what we see and what we can do. They set the rules to dominate the market while stifling the innovation and opportunity of the Internet economy. They are the gatekeepers. We are the customers. And they’ve set their lobbyists loose on Congress to raise false arguments, to stall progress, and to get the FCC to back down. We can’t let them do this.

Ahead of the vote on February 26th, Mozilla is launching an effort to take net neutrality across the finish line by mobilizing our community and ensuring that policymakers hear their voices loud and clear.

We’ve created a new, urgent petition that you can sign, so that your message — along with those of everyone else who speaks out — is sent directly to members of Congress. We’ve also joined forces with Fight for the Future, Demand Progress, and Free Press — key partners of ours in Stop SOPA and StopWatching.US — to enable our community to call their representatives of Congress. We will roll out this tool in the coming weeks as we get closer to the vote. We’re raising awareness across all of our major Firefox and Mozilla channels.

Taking on Goliaths is what the Mozilla community was born to do. The fight for choice in browsers; the fight to protect people’s privacy from government and corporate surveillance — these are the fights that have tipped the scales towards a Web where people have freedom and control.

Here we are – at another big tipping point for the Web. With days to go, this is our last chance to speak out before the FCC votes. Please stand with us.

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Frequently Asked Questions

The Internet belongs to all of us. Protect net neutrality: Sign the Petition

Q: What is net neutrality?

A: Net neutrality is the principle that all data on the Internet must be treated equally. This means that Internet service providers (ISPs) and governments cannot discriminate what websites users can access, and they cannot prioritize or block content regardless of its source or how much users and providers pay.

Q: Why does net neutrality matter?

A: The Internet is a fundamental part of our daily lives — it is vital for innovation, learning and opportunity. Keeping it open ensures that it will remain a global, shared resource for everyone.

Q: What is Mozilla asking the U.S. Federal Communications Commission to do exactly?

A: We are asking the FCC to protect real net neutrality for all Internet users and content creators. We ask that they vote to reclassify the Internet under Title II, which gives the FCC the authority to make sure ISPs do not discriminate in their provision of services.

Q: If we want a free and open Internet, how is giving the government the authority to regulate it a good thing?

A: Title II doesn’t give the government the authority to regulate what happens on the Internet, but rather to protect the Internet and its users from discrimination and paid prioritization.

Q: Why is net neutrality in the news right now?

A: The FCC votes on February 26th, 2015 whether or not to classify broadband as a Title II communications service.  People commented to the FCC more than 4 million times in favor of Title II, the most public comments the commission has ever seen. This decision is historic, and many governments around the world are discussing their net neutrality policies this year; the decisions reached in the United States will influence global policy approach.

Q: What can I do to support net neutrality and take action to make my voice heard by the FCC?

A: If you live in the U.S., you can sign the petition and/or call your Congressional representative. Although the final decision will be made by the FCC — commissioners who are appointed and not elected — Congress determines the FCC’s budget, and has the political ability to undermine the FCC; this is why it’s critical for Congress and the FCC to align. If you live outside of the U.S,  please forward this to anyone you know in-country.

Q: What happens if the FCC doesn’t vote in favor of Title II?

A: If broadband isn’t reclassified under Title II, it would be considered an “information service,” which will not be protected as well by the FCC. As an information service, your Internet access could be throttled, slowed down, or even blocked. Under Title II, the FCC will protect the free and open Web.

More questions? Check out these additional resources:

Net Neutrality Wiki: https://wiki.mozilla.org/Netpolicy/Net_neutrality

Net Neutrality: Concepts: https://training.webmakerprototypes.org/en/net-neutrality/concepts/#

Net Neutrality: External resources: https://training.webmakerprototypes.org/en/net-neutrality/resources/

Tumblr: Help the FCC Protect the Internet: https://www.tumblr.com/everybodyontheinternet

9 responses

  1. Packet wrote on :

    I disagree. You are opening a whole can of worms for the FCC to tinker with and government regulation. This is a misnamed appropriation of powers calling it neutral. A whole new venue to tax and regulate if anything creating a flat earth or internet policy to the likes of liberals desiring to force the haves that are paying $$ for the have nots that pay nothing or less. We already pay such an amount of taxes and fees on utilities for the have nots that if you had a standard landline you would know about half the bill is taxes and fees that have been added on over the last 20 years since the internet became public. You may not be old enough to have seen the change since the days of windows 3.11-95 to android-ios and your phone bill with the neutrality that has been added since then. What is being sold here is ignorance. The government can’t even enforce the donotcall list yet you trust them to not cater to lobbyists of networks.

    1. Sharyl wrote on :

      You are absolutely right. I am STILL flabbergasted that there is ANYbody left in this country over the age of 12 who would give this government anymore control over ANYthing. . .and is still dumb enough to believe that government actually gives a damn about the citizen. Governments are always and only about one thing. . .control. Anyone who is in favor of government intervention for the Internet is in favor of more government control. The price will go up for all of us who use it, doing business on the Internet for the little guy will become more difficult and expensive, innovation will come to a crawl, and you’re a fool if you think the government won’t decide what we can see and hear. Mozilla and Google and Yahoo and all the cable coms should be fighting this tooth and nail. I hope they tie this up in court till I’m dead and buried.

  2. Adam wrote on :

    If we have learned nothing in all these years, we should have at least learned that all you need to do is rename the going title of a bill or law to its opposite and it will give you its true intent (just how affordable did that Affordable Care Act turn out to be). I am all for a neutral net, but that is not what this is about. This is about the government declaring the internet “too important” and taking over control of it, and allowing companies to operate in specific ways under specific laws much the way they do with utilities (I am looking at your Southern California Edison). This is socialized medicine but for the internet. What Verizon and the others are asking for is just as dangerous. There is really no side fighting for what I believe is correct, because there is no easy money or power in what is correct. The two groups who are the loudest right now are crony capitalist (Verizon, ATT, Level 3 Communications, Centrylink, and others) who are just trying to protect their share of the pie and eliminate any competition trying to come in. Then in the other group you have true progressives who want a government takeover and then divvy it out in buddy buddy federal contracts to control what goes on, but don’t worry the government guarantees it will all be equal.

    A truly neutral net would be one where companies could compete for your service, where ISPs can’t block out competition, and where the government doesn’t block certain types of companies from operating, or only allowing one ISP in one area (many smaller cities and rural ISPs are government protected from competition). Mesh networks are a perfect example of how neither of these groups are truly interested in an open and neutral net. They are threatened with legal action if they are tried seriously as they can’t easily be traced and charged for in a traditional way like broadband to the premise. A truly neutral network would allow them because it would be a game changer and take all control away from the government or broadband providers to your premise.

    Don’t let your anger over crony capitalist ISPs (aka fascist) blind you of the oldest progressive trick in the book… creating hysteria and outrage and then stating the only fair solution is the government swooping in and saving the day. They see an opportunity to disguise a government takeover as protecting your “freedom”. Just like they did with healthcare. They see the anger out there over what the big ISPs and Tier 1 providers are trying to do (which government by and large created) and they jump at the chance to fool people into thinking only government can provide a “neutral” internet and they will be unbiased and their service (just like all government controlled services) will be wonderful. We are already near last in developed nations for our internet speeds because of the protection those tier 1 providers have thanks to the government, so this would be the final nail if the government got control of it. Nothing says blazing innovation and reliability like government programs and services.

    A true neutral net would be where any company can attempt to provide service to you for whatever price they believe you will pay, and you are free to switch between providers…. it is not where there is only one controlled internet and it is at the mercy of the federal government, subsidized by citizens that are adamantly opposed to that economic model. Yeah it might get worse before it gets better, but by handing the reins to the government we are guaranteeing failure, probably slow and painful. At least if we defend the idea of competition, with the right congress we could maybe, just maybe, deregulate and give a truly open internet a chance.

  3. Puppyite wrote on :

    ”Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt”. I’ve never seen so much palaver by the unwashed masses in my life.

    Deregulation is letting the fox guard the hen house. Only Net Neutrality can assure a free and open Internet and Net Neutrality can only be enforced by the FCC.

  4. Grant wrote on :

    Don’t you see? This will have the opposite effect. More government control means LESS innovation. You say you want a free and open web. This will result in less freedom. China and the Russian Federation will see this as a green light to continue their oppression of free speech. Please understand what is really going on here.

  5. John Swanson wrote on :

    Seriously this entire debate must come to a close and shame on you mozilla. Anyone with half a braincell knows that this policy will create less innovation. The only innovative things our federal government has done is start wars, ruin cultural norms, and enlarge an already massive deficit. Yes, lets give the same government, who paid to have the affordable care acts horrid website made, the ability to regulate all internet traffic equally. This is seriously the stupidest thing I have had the dis-fortune to argue with someone about. And welcome to the principle of free enterprise… those who can pay more for faster lanes should get the fast lanes. Much like having to pay tolls to get to work faster, so you should get to work faster. If you do not want to pay for something then you should have to wait. This is so insane… everyone wait and see how much netflix rates increase after this passed. All this bill will truely accomplish is decreased ISP speeds/innovation, increase attacks against non-liberal special interests groups, and cause the protection of content specific intellectual property to remain solely in the hands of the large cable companies. Anyone who supports such a massive socialization of the modern day internet should be ashamed and evaluated. Enough said.

  6. Andrew wrote on :

    All I have to say is:

    President Obama golfs with the CEO of Comcast (http://www.politico.com/blogs/media/2013/08/obama-golfs-with-comcast-ceo-170524.html).

    and

    Affordable Care Act website actually costs more than 2.1 BILLION (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2014-09-24/obamacare-website-costs-exceed-2-billion-study-finds)

    There is no way you’re stupid enough to think government intervention (especially the current administration), is going to make the internet more free… I’m flabbergasted to the lack of common sense on the side of Mozilla.

    “If you like your healthcare and insurance, you can keep your insurance…” -President Obama

    COME ON MOZILLA! You design great software but you’re completely on the wrong side in this case.

  7. pjh wrote on :

    When the government gives a name to a bill like ”NET NEUTRALITY”, you can bet that the result will be the exact opposite. Has anyone read this and is the content of the bill posted anywhere? Or does it have to get passed so we can see what is in it like another famous bill passed in resent years?

  8. Robert wrote on :

    How’s that government controlled health care working out for you, with that brilliantly conceived, and, brilliantly managed website? ANYONE should be able to see the chaos in any program that the government attempts to control. Net Neutrality is just another case of inventing a problem so that the government can institute regulations that will be much worse than the non-existent problem could ever be. The same old game of trying to control the information that the “little people” have access to, and, make billions from taxes, licenses. fines, and, most importantly, cronyism and corruption.