Imagine that you’re surfing the web, and someone sends you a link to a clever tweet – so you click on it, only to see a message from your ISP: “We’re sorry, you don’t have the Social Browsing Package. Would you like to add Social Browsing for $10 a month? It offers access to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, …” And later, your ISP prompts you to subscribe to the video service they own instead of Netflix to save money on data. This hasn’t happened in the US, but it could if ISPs don’t have clear rules of the road that protect net neutrality and the open web.
Last week, the FCC made the disappointing – but unsurprising – decision to schedule a vote in December to overturn net neutrality protections. We are on the heels of Cyber Monday: the most trafficked day for online commerce, a day clearly demonstrating the value of an open, neutral internet (just imagine having to pay your ISP a separate fee to use Jet instead of Amazon – that’s bad for everyone!). But this FCC doesn’t seem to care about the public interest, instead hellbent on rolling back our established net neutrality protections.
As we said last week, “internet traffic must be treated equally, without discrimination against content or type of traffic.” We urge the FCC to take its vote to kill net neutrality off the agenda, but our hopes aren’t high. And without these rules, everyday users and small businesses will pay the price, free speech will suffer, and competition and innovation will be eroded.
That’s why we’re releasing our net neutrality framework today, outlining what it really takes to have net neutrality. In our framework, we offer some guidance on what is needed to protect the future of the internet and the economic and social benefits it offers. And we look forward to working with legislators and litigators alike.
We encourage everyone to read proposed solutions and get involved. Tell the FCC and Congress to protect your access to the internet with net neutrality.
We need to remember that the stakes are high, and think about how to respond to the chaos the FCC is creating by rolling back net neutrality protections. We simply cannot let Internet Service Providers win by creating fast lanes, slowing down, or even blocking traffic for innovators and businesses that want a fair shot – and their users deserve better too.