News Release

An End to Open Internet?

The Wall Street Journal is reporting: “Regulators are proposing new rules on Internet traffic that would allow broadband providers to charge companies a premium for access to their fastest lanes.

“The Federal Communications Commission plans to put forth its rules on Thursday. The proposal marks the FCC’s third attempt at enforcing ‘net neutrality’ — the concept that all Internet traffic should be treated equally.”

JESSICA GONZALEZ, jgonzalez at nhmc.org, @nhmc
Gonzalez is executive vice president and general counsel at National Hispanic Media Coalition. The group released a statement which reads, “NHMC has long-opposed paid Internet fastlanes because they would be out of reach for non-profits, independent creators and small businesses who have thrived under fair rules of the road. There are countless stories of Latinos and other people of color — who have long faced marginalization from and discrimination in the traditional media system — using the Internet to organize, produce news and entertainment content, and make a living. Allowing large corporations to pay more for better access to Internet users by definition creates a system devoid of equity. Everyone who uses the Internet should be incredibly concerned with this course of action and should raise their voices to encourage the FCC to change course.”

AMALIA DELONEY, amalia at mediajustice.org, @guatemalia
Deloney is policy director at the Center for Media Justice. She said today, “The core of the Open Internet has always been the principle of non discrimination — a commitment to treating all content equally and providing a platform that truly benefits everyone. If today’s reports are accurate, then the FCC is moving away from a democratic standard to one in which big companies can pay more for the access they want. While these companies increase their profits, our communities will face a heightened level of discrimination–where pay-to-play lanes prevent us from telling our own stories accurately, advocating online for our communities, earning a living, and advancing our education. Standards like ‘commercial reasonableness’ will never serve the public interest, instead it allows corporations to pay more, for better access, creating an Internet that is separate and unequal.”

MICHAEL COPPS via Todd O’Boyle, TOBoyle at commoncause.org
A former FCC commissioner, Copps is now a special adviser to Common Cause. Regarding the FCC announcement, he said today, “If true, this proposal is a huge step backwards and just must be stopped. If the Commissioner subverts the Open Internet, it is an insult to both citizens and to the promise of the Net.”

CRAIG AARON via Tim Karr, tkarr at freepress.net
Aaron is the President and CEO of Free Press. “With this proposal, the FCC is aiding and abetting the largest ISPs in their efforts to destroy the open Internet. Giving ISPs the green light to implement pay-for-priority schemes will be a disaster for startups, nonprofits and everyday Internet users who cannot afford these unnecessary tolls. These users will all be pushed onto the Internet dirt road, while deep pocketed Internet companies enjoy the benefits of the newly created fast lanes.

“This is not Net Neutrality. It’s an insult to those who care about preserving the open Internet to pretend otherwise. The FCC had an opportunity to reverse its failures and pursue real Net Neutrality by reclassifying broadband under the law. Instead, in a moment of political cowardice and extreme shortsightedness, it has chosen this convoluted path that won’t protect Internet users.

“This approach is almost certain to be rejected by the courts…The court clearly told the FCC that if it wishes to ensure Internet users can send and receive information free from ISP interference, then the FCC has to classify ISPs as telecom carriers under Title II of the Communications Act.

“The FCC apparently doesn’t realize the dangerous incentives these rules would create. The routing of data on the Internet is a zero-sum game. Unless there is continual congestion, no website would pay for priority treatment. This means the FCC’s proposed rules will actually produce a strong incentive for ISPs to create congestion through artificial scarcity. Not only would this outcome run counter to the FCC’s broader goals, it actually undermines the so-called Section 706 legal basis for these rules.”