The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

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

FCC to Abandon Net Neutrality?

Washington Post Reports FCC Chairman Wavering on Promise to Protect Net Neutrality and Promote Universal Internet Access


According to an article in the Washington Post, Federal
Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski is "leaning
toward" a decision not to "reclassify" broadband to re-establish FCC
authority over the nation's Internet service providers.

A recent federal appeals court decision jeopardized the
FCC's authority to carry out many of the most important aspects of the
National Broadband Plan as well as the agency's ability to protect the
open Internet, one of the top items on the Obama administration's
technology agenda.

However, if he chooses to do so, the FCC chairman can
reverse the rejected policies of the previous administration and
reclassify broadband as a "telecommunications service" under Title II of
the Communications Act. Such a move would protect Internet users and
place the agency back on sound legal footing.

Free Press Executive Director Josh Silver
made the following statment:

"We simply cannot believe that Julius Genachowski would
consider going down this path. Failing to reclassify broadband means the
FCC is abandoning the signature communications and technology issues of
the Obama administration. Such a decision would destroy Net
Neutrality. It would deeply undermine the FCC's ability to ensure
universal Internet access for rural, low-income and disabled Americans.
It will undermine the FCC's ability to protect consumers from
price-gouging and invasions of privacy.

"If Chairman Genachowski fails to re-establish the FCC
authority to protect Internet users, he will be allowing companies like
Comcast, AT&T and Verizon to slow down, block or censor content at
will. They can block any website, any blog post, any tweet, any outreach
by a political campaign - and the FCC would be powerless to stop them.
Without reclassification, nearly every broadband-related decision the
agency makes from here forward will be aggressively challenged in court,
and the FCC will likely lose.

"The phone and cable companies know this, which is why
they're going all out to keep the FCC from doing so. Genachowski should
not buckle to phone and cable industry pressure, but it will take
courage to stand up to one of the biggest lobbying juggernauts in
Washington. It's not too late - and the public is watching."
"This decision facing the FCC chairman is about more than
one single issue, or even a broken promise to the American people. If
the FCC fails to stand with the public, it will be the end of the
Internet as we know it."

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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