Open internet defenders warned members of Congress that on Tuesday's Day of Advocacy for net neutrality rules, they will be hearing directly from their constituents about how they should vote on saving the regulations—and how the wrong decision could affect their job security.
"Most days the FCC and Congress are dominated by the opinions of large cable and telecom companies with armies of well-paid Washington lobbyists," said Chris Lewis, vice president at the public interest group Public Knowledge. "Tuesday, in both Washington and in communities around the country, Americans are lobbying for themselves. Some FCC commissioners have dismissed the overwhelming public support for restoring net neutrality rules, but they are unelected. Members of Congress ignore the overwhelming bipartisan support for net neutrality at their own risk."
TOMORROW: On June 26 we're teaming up with allies to hold a Net Neutrality Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill. Join us as we urge House reps to pass the #NetNeutrality CRA and restore the open-internet rules.
— Free Press (@freepress) June 25, 2018
Public Knowledge and Free Press will be joined by a number of other groups—including Fight for the Future, Common Cause, and the National Hispanic Media Coalition—for the day of advocacy.
The Senate voted in favor of the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to overturn the FCC's repeal of net neutrality in May—moving a step closer to preventing internet service providers like Verizon and Comcast from blocking and throttling websites and creating "fast lanes" that give priority to certain content.
Advocates are now demanding that members of the House of Representatives support a petition to force a vote on the CRA.
Activists will be at the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday, talking to their elected officials about how the end of net neutrality would affect their lives and work.
#NetNeutrality ended last Monday. A large #publisher could pay to increase their traffic while internet service providers #ISP could slow down traffic to my small #publishing business. Special interest with $ could pay to suppress other points of view while advancing their own. https://t.co/tiTVsk8DNr
— Matthew Barron (@authorMBarron) June 18, 2018
"People have been using the internet to save the internet every day," said Sandra Fulton, director of government relations at Free Press Action Fund. "Tomorrow, they're taking action in person, urging their elected representatives to stand with the vast majority of Americans who oppose the FCC's unpopular decision to repeal net neutrality protections. We know that the open internet is critical for marginalized communities that corporate media have misrepresented; that it's essential for free speech and political organizing online; and that working families need an open network to survive just as much as tech entrepreneurs do."
Dozens of events are also planned in cities and towns across the country, with internet freedom advocates set to protest at their elected officials' offices.
"The overwhelming majority of Americans understand that strong net neutrality rules are the prerequisite for an open and citizen-friendly internet," said Yosef Getachew of Common Cause. "Members of Congress will hear directly from their constituents—everyday Americans from all walks of life—on why net neutrality is important to them. Tomorrow's advocacy demonstrates the strong voice of the American people demanding an open internet and urging their elected officials to support the resolution restoring the FCC's net neutrality rules."