net neutrality supporters hold banners
Demonstrators gathered outside the American Enterprise Institute to protest the Federal Communication Commission's attack on net neutrality in 2017.
(Photo: Free Press/flicker/cc)

30+ Groups Relaunch Grassroots Campaign as FCC Moves to Restore Net Neutrality

"We know that Big Cable is going to pull out all the stops in an attempt to water down or even block the rules," said one campaigner. "That's why we're mobilizing the grassroots."

Following the Federal Communication Commission's vote last week to start restoring FCC oversight of broadband and net neutrality rules rolled back under former President Donald Trump, more than 30 groups relaunched the Battle for the Net campaign.

"We are proud to relaunch Battle for the Net along with over 30 organizations representing millions of Americans," said Demand Progress communications director Maria Langholz in a statement. "It is absolutely critical for the FCC to succeed in this process to restore net neutrality and Title II protections."

Despite intense opposition from internet providers, broadband was previously treated as a public service under Title II of the Communications Act. However, in 2017, then-FCC Chair Ajit Pai—a former telecom industry lawyer appointed by Trump—led an unpopular rollback of the policy.

After the U.S. Senate last month finally confirmed Commissioner Anna Gomez to a long-vacant FCC seat, Chair Jessica Rosenworcel announced her plan to try to revive the policy—which prevents providers from blocking legal content, throttling speeds, and creating fast lanes. Commissioner Geoffrey Starks joined the two women in supporting the restoration effort.

"We applaud the FCC for moving forward this proposal, and especially commend Chair Rosenworcel's leadership on this issue," Langholz said Tuesday. "In addition to the commission, we impel members of Congress to stand with their constituents by supporting Title II reclassification."

The campaign website, BattleForTheNet.com, identifies "next steps" as FCC reinstatement of net neutrality and pressuring Congress to enshrine the policy into law.

"As the commission moves forward with this rulemaking, we know that Big Cable is going to pull out all the stops in an attempt to water down or even block the rules," Langholz explained. "That's why we're mobilizing the grassroots, making use of the years of organizing we and our partner organizations have done, to push this proposal through the finish line."

The campaign site currently features a form allowing U.S. voters to let members of the commission and Congress know that "I strongly support the FCC's current effort to reinstate net neutrality and Title II authority, which is critical for an open internet, expanding broadband access, privacy protections, and public safety."

The pre-written comment, which users are able to personalize before submitting, adds that "the agency must move forward a strong rule that rejects zero-rating, ensures interconnection, and allows for state preemption."

Caitlin Seeley George, campaigns and managing director at Fight for the Future, highlighted that "net neutrality has so much support across the political spectrum. And we've seen this support in action as millions of people have taken action over the years at the Battle for the Net hub in support of these commonsense protections against Big Telecom's abusive power."

"Now that the hurdles blocking the FCC from reinstating net neutrality have finally been cleared, they must listen to all of these supporters and swiftly move forward," she stressed. "Internet providers will do all they can to block the agency, spending obscene amounts of money to retain their power. But the FCC must listen to experts and the general public, and move forward with a strong rule to restore net neutrality and Title II protections."

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