Breaking news: in an historic victory of global importance, the US Federal Communications Commission just passed rock solid rules to ensure the Internet stays open and free for generations to come.
Big Cable TV and Internet companies have spent millions of dollars to push “Internet slow lanes” that would let them charge us more money to use the Internet, and control what we could access. But after millions of public comments, emails, phone calls, and demonstrationsacross the country — loads of it driven by SumOfUs members — the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has just said an emphatic “no” to a corporate-controlled Internet,and committed to protect Net Neutrality.
With so many websites based in the US, free and open Internet around the world was at stake. This victory will have a lasting impact towards protecting free speech and social movements across the globe. And that is worth celebrating.
Just six months ago, we were facing staggering odds. Big corporations like US cable TV giantComcast had spent more than $750 million lobbying for a corporate-controlled Internet. Google, the biggest lobby in the industry, was refusing to speak up. The FCC chair Tom Wheeler, a former Big Cable lobbyist, was hostile to Net Neutrality.
But against all odds, we’ve pulled off one of the biggest victories in the history of the Internet, in what the New York Times called “the longest, most sustained campaign of Internet activism in history”, won by “an army of Internet activists.”
Together, here’s a snapshot of some of the amazing things we’ve done:
- Submitted tens and tens of thousands of comments to the FCC in support of Net Neutrality, making sure the agency received more comments than ever before on a public consultation.
- Flooded FCC offices with thousands of phone calls, to build internal pressure for the agency to do their job and protect the open Internet.
- Tied FCC chairman Tom Wheeler to his past as a former Big Cable lobbyist on social media and his personal Twitter account, forcing him to publicly choose a side.
- Helped turn out hundreds of people to emergency rallies and vigils across the country, including outside the White House.
- Organized tens of thousands of people to speak up online and on the phone todemand Google publicly support real Net Neutrality.
- Pulled off a creative protest to bring Internet slow lanes to life by literally putting private buses transporting Google employees to work in a SumOfUs-created “Slow Lane”.
- Worked together with a huge coalition of amazing groups like Demand Progress, Free Press, Fight for the Future, Color of Change, and too many others to count.
And it worked! Following each piece of the campaign President Obama, FCC chairman Tom Wheeler, and Google all came out in support of Net Neutrality — and now the FCC has adopted an official decision to protect Net Neutrality.
But even though we’ve won this crucial fight, we must stay vigilant.
Big telecom corporations like Verizon and Comcast are already working with conservatives in the US Congress to try and undermine our win. We need to be ready to put the pressure on again in the coming months to make sure we don’t lose an inch of our progress.
Up against corporate millions, this decision to protect Net Neutrality is a massive victory for citizen campaigning. Thanks to all of us, we can finally say 2015 was the year we won Net Neutrality. Let’s keep working together to make sure it stays that way.
Thanks for all you do,
Taren, Paul, Nick, Nicole, and the team at SumOfUs