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ACTION ALERT: Victory on Net Neutrality!


February 27, 2015
Becky Bond / CREDO Action & MoveOn.org

It's time to jump for joy! We just made history. Together, we literally just saved the Internet from a corporate takeover. The Federal Communications Commission stood up to Comcast and Verizon and voted for real Net Neutrality -- no fast lanes for the rich and slow lanes for the poor. This unlikely victory has been ten years in the making, at least. How did we get here? In a word (okay, in two words) -- people power.

http://act.credoaction.com/sign/nn_victory

We Saved the Internet! Historic Victory on Net Neutrality A Major Victory for People Power!

Becky Bond / CREDO Action

ACTION ALERT: Tell the Democratic FCC Commissioners:
"Thank you for voting for strong Net Neutrality rules under Title II."


(February 26, 2015) -- Big Telecom pulled out all the stops to kill equality on the Internet -- but it lost. And we won.

CREDO has been fiercely engaged in this fight for a decade -- since George W. Bush deregulated broadband and opened the door for Big Telecom companies to discriminate on the Internet.

Most politicians thought we couldn't win this fight. Some Democrats joined Republicans on the wrong side. Others expressed support but were simply too timid to speak out on behalf of the strongest rules.

But thanks to your activism, millions spoke out for the only solution that would make strong rules on Net Neutrality possible: the awkwardly named "Title II reclassification." The president joined you in this call and today the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to adopt historic Net Neutrality rules under the legal framework we've been demanding all these years.

We haven't seen the final rules yet, but all reports suggest that this is a huge victory. Right now we need to thank the Democratic FCC commissioners -- Chairman Tom Wheeler, Mignon Clyburn, and Jessica Rosenworcel -- for standing up for Net Neutrality.

Let's be clear: This wouldn't have happened without you and the millions of other grassroots activists who spoke out for Net Neutrality. Big Telecom is used to getting its way in D.C. -- and for good reason. Most Beltway insiders dismissed this kind of victory as impossible because Telecom giants usually have enough money and influence to play the insider game and get Democrats to support them or stay neutral. As a result they usually win.

That's what happened in 2010, when President Obama's first FCC Chair Julius Genachowski caved to Big Telecom and passed sham rules that his own lawyers warned him wouldn't stand up in court.

But this time, we changed the game. Since the early days of this fight, CREDO got a lot bigger. Instead of being a 500,000-member organization, now we have more than 3 million progressives fighting for change.

New and fierce groups rose to prominence after the SOPA/PIPA fight -- most prominently Demand Progress and Fight for the Future. We became close allies with those groups, organizing campaigns together and providing them with funding.

A new generation of Civil Rights leaders have are making Net Neutrality a major part of their equality agenda. ColorOfChange has grown into a powerful voice for protecting civil rights online. Because of their advocacy, and that of groups like the Center for Media Justice, the Media Action Grassroots Network, and the National Hispanic Media Coalition, Democrats who in the past have sided with telecom lobbyists changed their tune this time around.

The biggest progressive Web site, Daily Kos, also got deeply involved in the fight. MoveOn mobilized its members organizing nationwide rallies. Policy groups like Free Press pushed back in Washington, D.C. and made it clear that no insider compromise would get the backing of the grassroots. And then, one by one, other Internet businesses joined CREDO Mobile in the fight and got the attention of some of the most corporate-minded Democrats.

This powerful coalition of grassroots leaders, startups and tech companies, civil rights groups, lawyers, consumer and privacy advocates and netroots groups organized millions of people in every corner of the country to call out the toxic influence of Big Telecom in Washington, D.C., and demand real Net Neutrality.

This was a massive group effort, and no organization or business can claim sole credit for this victory. But CREDO activists played a major role, and not just since the Verizon lawsuit invalidated the weak rules adopted in 2010 -- we've been doing this for a decade.

Since Verizon invalidated the old rules in court in January of 2014, over 310,000 CREDO members successfully urged Chairman Wheeler to protect Net Neutrality. Part of the reason that Chairman Wheeler did the right thing is probably that, after over 210,000 of us asked President Obama to support Title II, he did. We've made thousands and thousands of calls to the FCC, Congress and President Obama calling for strong rules that will protect the open Internet.

Not only have we organized, but CREDO has helped fund the movement for Net Neutrality by giving nearly a million dollars in recent years to incredible groups like Demand Progress, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Color Of Change, the ACLU and Free Press.

We're proud of the part we've played in this victory, but we have to remember that our wins are rarely permanent. We will have to defend these rules again and again and again. This is something that with your help we are prepared to do.

Chairman Wheeler's Net Neutrality rules are already becoming the latest target for Republican paranoia and conspiracy theories. As we prepare for the next stage of this fight, let's thank the FCC commissioners who listened when we spoke out, and voted to save the Internet.

Thank FCC Commissioners Wheeler, Clyburn and Rosenworcel for doing their part to save the Internet by passing strong Net Neutrality rules. Click the link below to sign the petition.
http://act.credoaction.com/sign/nn_victory


Thank you for taking action.

Becky Bond is the Political Director of CREDO Action from Working Assets.





Victory on Net Neutrality!
MoveOn.org

(February 26, 2015) -- It's time to jump for joy! We just made history. Together, we literally just saved the Internet from a corporate takeover. The Federal Communications Commission stood up to Comcast and Verizon and voted for real Net Neutrality -- no fast lanes for the rich and slow lanes for the poor.1

This unlikely victory has been ten years in the making, at least. How did we get here? In a word (okay, in two words) -- people power.

MoveOn members joined a remarkable array of allies to do what many considered politically impossible. We took on one of the most powerful lobbies in Washington -- the cable industry -- and through organizing, creativity, and persistence, we won.

We made a thank-you card for the FCC commissioners who stood with Internet users everywhere and voted for real Net Neutrality today.

Will you add your name to the thank-you card, and then invite your friends to add their names too?

This card is for you, too -- the MoveOn community that for a decade has fought for common sense and equality on the Internet.

So here's what just happened: In a party-line vote, the FCC voted to use the simplest, clearest, most legally sound tool to preserve Net Neutrality. It's called Title II, and it allows the FCC to treat the Internet like a public utility, protecting it for all users.

Experts have long agreed that Title II reclassification is the commonsense way to go, but the extreme opposition of the wealthy telecom industry -- who hoped to profit from charging for fast lanes -- made the clear solution seem politically impossible to many even a year ago.

But grassroots leaders raised their voices for the commonsense solution and built a movement that brought together millions of Americans of all political stripes and proved too powerful for even the seemingly all-powerful telecom lobby.

It's worth taking a brief look back a little farther to appreciate how we got to today.

In 2005, President Bush's FCC unsurprisingly sided with the big cable companies to begin unraveling one of the founding principles of the Internet -- that all content would be treated equally. When Congress tried to permanently change the rules to favor the telecom industry, the Save the Internet Coalition formed, bringing together unlikely allies such as MoveOn.org and the Christian Coalition.2 (For a bit of history, check out the 2006 MoveOn petition -- MoveOn's first on the issue. See petition below.) Together we stopped Congress from doing permanent damage then.

As a presidential candidate, Barack Obama supported net neutrality. After he was elected, the FCC commissioners he appointed passed new open Internet rules meant to protect Net Neutrality -- but they failed to reclassify the Internet as a public good, and in 2010, the order was struck down in court (in a case called, not surprisingly, Comcast v. FCC).3 In January 2014, an appeals court confirmed that ruling. We were back to square one, with Verizon and Comcast on offense.

When President Obama's next FCC chair, Tom Wheeler, introduced new rules in April 2014 that would have made things even worse, we were ready.

Over the past year, Americans like you submitted four million comments to the FCC and made tens of thousands of phone calls to Congress and to individual phone lines at the FCC. Allies occupied the FCC's front lawn and blocked the FCC chairman's driveway. Civil rights organizers shaped public opinion by telling personal stories, not relying on corporate media.

We rallied outside FCC field offices that never hear from the public. We shared our stories -- of artists, entrepreneurs, teachers, parents who rely on an equal playing field online for our livelihoods and to make a difference in the world. We called on President Obama to fulfill his promise to protect Net Neutrality -- and he did.

President Obama sided with us for reclassification. Now the FCC is siding with us. We've won.

Congress will try to undo this, but we'll keep fighting, and we'll keep winning.

Net Neutrality is fundamental to the ability of grassroots activists to create their own media when mainstream corporate media ignores our stories. When our community wins something like this, it's important to take a moment to celebrate. And when government agencies and politicians stand with us, it's important to thank them.

This victory is ours. Let's savor it, and then let's keep defending the Internet.

Thanks for all you do.
-- Maria, Victoria, Jadzia, Milan, and the rest of the team


Sources:

1. "In Net Neutrality Victory, FCC Classifies Broadband Internet Service as a Public Utility," The New York Times, February 26, 2015
http://www.moveon.org/r/?r=303188&id=109050-23936879-J6cExpx&t=7

2. "How the Christian Coalition and MoveOn Helped Save Net Neutrality: A Buried Story of a Powerful Coalition," The Huffington Post, February 25, 2015
http://www.moveon.org/r/?r=303182&id=109050-23936879-J6cExpx&t=8

3. "The Net Neutrality Battle Has Been Lost. But now we can finally win the war," Slate, January 14, 2014 
http://www.moveon.org/r/?r=303183&id=109050-23936879-J6cExpx&t=10

Want to support our work? We're entirely funded by our 8 million members -- no corporate contributions, no big checks from CEOs. And our tiny staff ensures that small contributions go a long way.


2006: MoveOn's First Petition on Net Neutrality

Dear MoveOn member,
Do you buy books online, use Google, or download to an Ipod? These activities, plus MoveOn's online organizing ability, will be hurt if Congress passes a radical law that gives giant corporations more control over the Internet.

Internet providers like AT&T and Verizon are lobbying Congress hard to gut Network Neutrality, the Internet's First Amendment. Net Neutrality prevents AT&T from choosing which websites open most easily for you based on which site pays AT&T more. Amazon doesn't have to outbid Barnes & Noble for the right to work more properly on your computer.

If Net Neutrality is gutted, MoveOn either pays protection money to dominant Internet providers or risks that online activism tools don't work for members. Amazon and Google either pay protection money or risk that their websites process slowly on your computer. That why these high-tech pioneers are joining the fight to protect Network Neutrality [1] -- and you can do your part today.

The free and open Internet is under siege -- can you sign this petition letting your member of Congress know you support preserving Network Neutrality? Click here:
http://www.civic.moveon.org/save_the_internet/

Then, please forward this to 3 friends. Protecting the free and open Internet is fundamental -- it affects everything. When you sign this petition, you'll be kept informed of the next steps we can take to keep the heat on Congress. Votes begin in a House committee next week.

MoveOn has already seen what happens when the Internet's gatekeepers get too much control. Just last week, AOL blocked any email mentioning a coalition that MoveOn is a part of, which opposes AOL's proposed "email tax." [2] And last year, Canada's version of AT&T -- Telus -- blocked their Internet customers from visiting a website sympathetic to workers with whom Telus was negotiating. [3]

Politicians don't think we are paying attention to this issue. Many of them take campaign checks from big telecom companies and are on the verge of selling out to people like AT&T 's CEO, who openly says, "The internet can't be free."[4]

Together, we can let Congress know we are paying attention. We can make sure they listen to our voices and the voices of people like Vint Cerf, a father of the Internet and Google's "Chief Internet Evangelist," who recently wrote this to Congress in support of preserving Network Neutrality:

My fear is that, as written, this bill would do great damage to the Internet as we know it. Enshrining a rule that broadly permits network operators to discriminate in favor of certain kinds of services and to potentially interfere with others would place broadband operators in control of online activity . . . . Telephone companies cannot tell consumers who they can call; network operators should not dictate what people can do online.[4]

The essence of the Internet is at risk -- can you sign this petition letting your member of Congress know you support preserving Network Neutrality? Click here:

http://www.civic.moveon.org/save_the_internet/

-- Eli Pariser, Adam Green, Noah T. Winer, and the MoveOn.org Civic Action team
Thursday, April 20th, 2006

P.S. If Congress abandons Network Neutrality, who will be affected?

Advocacy groups like MoveOn -- Political organizing could be slowed by a handful of dominant Internet providers who ask advocacy groups to pay "protection money" for their websites and online features to work correctly.

Nonprofits -- A charity's website could open at snail-speed, and online contributions could grind to a halt, if nonprofits can't pay dominant Internet providers for access to "the fast lane" of Internet service.

Google users -- Another search engine could pay dominant Internet providers like AT&T to guarantee the competing search engine opens faster than Google on your computer.

Innovators with the "next big idea" -- Startups and entrepreneurs will be muscled out of the marketplace by big corporations that pay Internet providers for dominant placing on the Web. The little guy will be left in the "slow lane" with inferior Internet service, unable to compete.

Ipod listeners -- A company like Comcast could slow access to iTunes, steering you to a higher-priced music service that it owned.

Online purchasers -- Companies could pay Internet providers to guarantee their online sales process faster than competitors with lower prices -- distorting your choice as a consumer.

Small businesses and telecommuters -- When Internet companies like AT&T favor their own services, you won't be able to choose more affordable providers for online video, teleconferencing, Internet phone calls, and software that connects your home computer to your office.

Parents and retirees -- Your choices as a consumer could be controlled by your Internet provider, steering you to their preferred services for online banking, health care information, sending photos, planning vacations, etc.

Bloggers -- Costs will skyrocket to post and share video and audio clips -- silencing citizen journalists and putting more power in the hands of a few corporate-owned media outlets.

To sign the petition to Congress supporting "network neutrality," click here: http://www.civic.moveon.org/save_the_internet/

P.P.S. This excerpt from the New Yorker really sums up this issue well.

In the first decades of the twentieth century, as a national telephone network spread across the United States, AT&T adopted a policy of "tiered access" for businesses. Companies that paid an extra fee got better service: their customers' calls went through immediately, were rarely disconnected, and sounded crystal-clear.

Those who didn't pony up had a harder time making calls out, and people calling them sometimes got an "all circuits busy" response. Over time, customers gravitated toward the higher-tier companies and away from the ones that were more difficult to reach. In effect, AT&T 's policy turned it into a corporate kingmaker.

If you've never heard about this bit of business history, there's a good reason: it never happened. Instead, AT&T had to abide by a "common carriage" rule: it provided the same quality of service to all, and could not favor one customer over another. But, while "tiered access" never influenced the spread of the telephone network, it is becoming a major issue in the evolution of the Internet.

Until recently, companies that provided Internet access followed a de-facto common-carriage rule, usually called "network neutrality," which meant that all Web sites got equal treatment. Network neutrality was considered so fundamental to the success of the Net that Michael Powell, when he was chairman of the FCC, described it as one of the basic rules of "Internet freedom."

In the past few months, though, companies like AT&T and BellSouth have been trying to scuttle it. In the future, Web sites that pay extra to providers could receive what BellSouth recently called "special treatment," and those that don't could end up in the slow lane.

One day, BellSouth customers may find that, say, NBC.com loads a lot faster than YouTube.com, and that the sites BellSouth favors just seem to run more smoothly. Tiered access will turn the providers into Internet gatekeepers. [4]

Sources:

1. "Telecommunication Policy Proposed by Congress Must Recognize Internet Neutrality," Letter to Senate leaders, March 23, 2006
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=1653

2. "AOL Blocks Critics' E-Mails," Los Angeles Times, April 14, 2006
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=1649

3. "B.C. Civil Liberties Association Denounces Blocking of Website by Telus," British Columbia Civil Liberties Association Statement, July 27, 2005
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=1650

4. "At SBC, It's All About 'Scale and Scope," BusinessWeek, November 7, 2002
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=1648

5. "Net Losses," New Yorker, March 20, 2006
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=1646

6. "Don't undercut Internet access," San Francisco Chronicle editorial, April 17, 2006
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=1645



Celebrate the Net Neutrality Victory!
The Daily Kos

(February 26, 2015) -- In honor of today's epic victory that preserves Net Neutrality and an open internet (plus municipal broadband!), here are some of the most viewed and shared Daily Kos articles on Net Neutrality from the past year.

 Savor this victory -- enjoy using the internet today!

Biggest. Internet. Freedom. Victory. Ever.

Now the Net Neutrality fight is serious -- the porn sites engage

Cartoon: Net Neutrality

After nonsensical comments on Net Neutrality, conservatives rage against Ted Cruz

In the ultimate Net Neutrality protest, web host throttles FCC connections

FCC to AT&T : About those net neutrality threats . . .

Lame anti-Net Neutrality group demonstrates its lameness

Cartoon: Goodbye Net Neutrality. Hello gilded age Internet.

Cartoon: Net Neutrality is Obamacare

Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.

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