We may have to do it again. Importantly, we can and we will.
President-Elect Trump has picked his members of the “agency landing team” for the Federal Communications Commission. Notably, two of them are former telecommunications executives who weren’t supportive of the net neutrality rules ultimately adopted on February 25, 2015. There is no determination yet of who will ultimately lead the FCC – that will likely wait until next year. However, the current “landing team” picks have people concerned that the rules enacted to protect net neutrality – the table stakes for an open internet – are in jeopardy of being thrown out.
Is this possible? Of course it is – but it isn’t quite that simple. We should all pay attention to these picks – they are important for many reasons – but we need to put this into context.
The current FCC, who ultimately proposed and enacted the rules, faced a lot of public pressure in its process of considering them. The relevant FCC docket on net neutrality (“Protecting and Promoting the Open Internet”) currently contains 2,179,599 total filings from interested parties. The FCC also received 4 million comments from the public – most in favor of strong net neutrality rules. It took all of our voices to make it clear that net neutrality was important and needed to be protected.
So, what can happen now? Any new administration can reconsider the issue. We hope they don’t. We have been fighting this fight all over the world, and it would be nice to continue to count the United States as among the leaders on this issue, not one of the laggards. But, if the issue is revisited – we are all still here, and so are others who supported and fought for net neutrality.
We all still believe in net neutrality and in protecting openness, access and equality. We will make our voices heard again. As Mozilla, we will fight for the rules we have – it is a fight worth having. So, pay attention to what is going on in these transition teams – but remember we have strength in our numbers and in making our voices heard.