News Release

“Net Neutrality” Ruling Poised to Make Web into “Something that Looks Like Cable TV”

The New York Times reports: “A federal appeals court on Tuesday threw out Federal Communications Commission rules that require Internet service providers to give all traffic equal access through their networks.”

MICHAEL COPPS, via Todd O’Boyle, TOBoyle at commoncause.org, @coppsm
Former FCC commissioner and special adviser to Common Cause’s Media and Democracy Initiative, Copps released a statement today: “The Court’s decision today [PDF] is poised to end the free, open, and uncensored Internet that we have come to rely on. People depend on the Open Internet to connect and communicate with each other freely. Voters need it to inform themselves before casting ballots. Without prompt corrective action by the Commission to reclassify broadband, this awful ruling will serve as a sorry memorial to the corporate abrogation of free speech.”

NICHOLAS JOHNSON, mailbox at nicholasjohnson.org, @NicholasIowa
Johnson was a commissioner of the FCC and now teaches at the University of Iowa College of Law. He said today: “The genius of the Internet has always been its openness. Anyone with an Internet connection can access any of its public content, from anywhere, at any time. Those features, built into the Internet’s architecture, are unfortunately not built into its law. The FCC has tried to remedy that, but today once again has run into opposition from the courts. Since the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals has addressed how the FCC went about it, more than the desirability of its goal, we can hope that the Commission, and Congress if necessary, will move swiftly to get it done in the right way.”

CRAIG AARON, via Jenn Topper, caaron at freepress.net, @notaaroncraig
President and CEO of Free Press, Aaron said today: “The compromised Open Internet Order struck down today left much to be desired, but it was a step toward maintaining Internet users’ freedom to go where they wanted, when they wanted, and communicate freely online. Now, just as Verizon promised it would in court, the biggest broadband providers will race to turn the open and vibrant Web into something that looks like cable TV. They’ll establish fast lanes for the few giant companies that can afford to pay exorbitant tolls and reserve the slow lanes for everyone else.

“The FCC — under the leadership of former Chairman Julius Genachowski — made a grave mistake when it failed to ground its Open Internet rules on solid legal footing. Internet users will pay dearly for the previous chairman’s lack of political will. That’s why we need to fix the problems the agency could have avoided in the first place.

“New FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler recently stated that the FCC must have the ability to protect broadband users and preserve the Internet’s fundamental open architecture. In order to do that, he must act quickly to restore and reassert the FCC’s clear authority over our nation’s communications infrastructure. The agency must follow its statutory mandate to make broadband communications networks open, accessible, reliable and affordable for everyone.” Aaron just wrote the piece “Net Neutrality Is Dead — Here’s How to Get It Back.”

JESSICA J. GONZALEZ, via Brian Pacheco, bpacheco at nhmc.org, @NHMC
Executive vice president and general counsel for the National Hispanic Media Coalition, Gonzalez said today: “Latinos and other people of color have long faced discrimination at the hands of mainstream media. Over the open Internet, we have been able to push back against this discrimination, tell our own stories fairly and accurately, organize, and even earn a living. Today’s D.C. Circuit Court decision puts this Internet freedom in jeopardy.”

MALKIA CYRIL, malkia at mediajustice.org, @culturejedi
Executive director of the Center for Media Justice, Cyril said today: “For those of us already pushed to the margins of public debate, today’s decision striking down net neutrality couldn’t be worse. Despite reports by telecom companies and their allies that keeping the Internet open would hinder jobs and hurt the economy, the opposite is true. Killing network neutrality will actually hinder our small businesses and hurt economic growth in communities of color. In a David vs. Goliath battle for visibility, eliminating the only rules that allow David’s voice to be heard on the Internet is an economic death sentence communities of color can’t afford.”