The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Liz Rose, Communications Director, 202-265-1490 x 32

Free Press Urges FCC to Move Ahead with Rules to Protect the Internet


Today marks the closing of the official public
comment cycle in the Federal Communications Commission's open Internet
proceeding. Free Press will file reply comments today with the FCC,
urging the agency to move forward with its plans to promote innovation
and investment online by preserving the free and open Internet.

Free Press Research Director S. Derek Turner
made the following statement:

" Net Neutrality has been a hot topic of debate in Washington
and around the country ever since the first threats to destroy the open
Internet were made in 2005. Since that time, the public has weighed in
overwhelmingly with their desire to see policymakers preserve the open
Internet. American consumers need the FCC to act as their champion and
to stand up against the powerful phone and cable companies that would
rather sacrifice economic growth and the common good in a short-sighted
attempt to protect their old business models.

"Though the industry continues to trot out their hackneyed
'solution in search of a problem' rhetoric, in recent weeks two more
broadband service providers were exposed for violating open Internet
principles. DSL provider Windstream used so-called deep packet
inspection tools to hijack search queries on its subscribers' Web
browser toolbars. And cable provider RCN was caught discriminating
against peer-to-peer traffic in the same way Comcast and Cox
Communications have in the past.

"It's clear that violations of the open Internet are ongoing
and kept secret from consumers. If the FCC fails to establish basic
rules of the road, we can expect much more of the same from broadband

"The fundamental question before policymakers is: Who should
be trusted with the future of the Internet, these companies that have
repeatedly violated open Internet principles or consumers?

"Should we trust Verizon's arguments about how Net
Neutrality will hurt jobs, while the company simultaneously brags to
Wall Street about firing workers even in the face of rising profits?

"Should we trust AT&T when it says openness principles
will lead to higher prices, even as it openly discusses new schemes to
price-gouge customers despite its own declining costs?

"Should we listen to Time Warner Cable's talking points
about how Net Neutrality will harm investment, even as it boasts of its
plans to only roll out 'surgical' investment in next-generation
technologies in the limited areas where it faces real competition?

"Or should we listen to and trust in the millions of
consumers and small businesses that make the Internet so valuable and
such an important part of our economic and social lives?

"It is time for the FCC to finally move forward with rules
to protect the open Internet."

Free Press was created to give people a voice in the crucial decisions that shape our media. We believe that positive social change, racial justice and meaningful engagement in public life require equitable access to technology, diverse and independent ownership of media platforms, and journalism that holds leaders accountable and tells people what's actually happening in their communities.

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