Public Floods FCC with Net Neutrality Support

Over 95 Percent of Comments Filed at Agency Demand a Free and Open Internet

WASHINGTON – JULY 17 – Tens of thousands of public comments supporting Net Neutrality flooded the Federal Communications Commission before the close of the agency’s official inquiry yesterday. In a landslide, well over 95 percent of the comments called for rules that prohibit phone and cable companies from discriminating against Web sites or services.

People from different backgrounds, living in every corner of the country, demand this basic Internet freedom. Internet users from all 435 congressional districts used SavetheInternet.com’s online tools to send personal messages to the FCC.

“I am living the American dream because of Network Neutrality — my games have been used in thousands of schools all over the world,” says Karen Chun, a single mother and owner of a successful online educational games business. “Without Net Neutrality, my little Web site would have been consigned to oblivion because I wouldn’t have been able to pay the fees the ISPs want to charge.”

Net Neutrality supporters include a broad range of small business owners, students, churchgoers, bloggers, political candidates, educators and activists who say that protecting Net Neutrality is fundamental to their family life, work and interests.

“In rural America, the Internet is very important in staying informed,” wrote Charles and Carol Swigart of Huntingdon, Pa. “We read several national newspapers every day to get the news our local paper does not thoroughly cover. All persons who publish on the Internet should have an equal opportunity to have their voices heard.”

Kelly Jones of Portland, Ore., told the FCC that “corporations are not, and have never been, qualified as gatekeepers to American communication and growth. If the FCC believes in true democracy, it must ensure that broadband providers do not block, interfere with or discriminate against any lawful Internet traffic based on its ownership, source or destination.”

Sens. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) — co-sponsors of the bipartisan “Internet Freedom Preservation Act” — sent a letter to FCC Chairman Kevin Martin urging the FCC to reinstate Net Neutrality rules.

“We see that thousands of people have submitted comments describing how a free and open Internet benefits consumers and telling you the discriminatory practices planned by their Internet service providers would substantially harm their online experience,” Dorgan and Snowe wrote the chairman. “We hope you take note of these thousands of public comments\nurging you to protect Internet freedom.”

In 2005, the FCC removed the rules that had guaranteed Net Neutrality since the Internet’s inception. The heads of the biggest phone and cable companies have repeatedly stated plans to discriminate against Web sites that don’t pay extra fees to get higher quality service and faster speeds.

More than 1.6 million people and 850 groups from across the political spectrum have called for the FCC and Congress to reinstate Net Neutrality.

The Commission opened its Net Neutrality inquiry in March, asking for comment on why a neutral Internet is important; how phone and cable company efforts to discriminate against content online affect everyday lives; and whether the agency should enforce rules that would prohibit such discrimination.

“Once again, the public has sent a clear mandate to Washington: Protect Net Neutrality,” said Timothy Karr\, campaign director of Free Press, the group that coordinates the SavetheInternet.com Coalition. "Internet users want competitive and affordable services. They don’t want phone and cable companies to manipulate the free flow of information and distort the Web’s level playing field. Now, the FCC must heed demands from people of every walk of life and enforce full Net Neutrality.”

– To the original at CommonDreams.org:

– I wrote earlier on this subject here: &

– And Bill Moyers did a wonderful piece here on press freedom and net neutrality:

– Thx to Michael M. for directing me to this piece.

Comments are closed.