The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) under President Donald Trump announced in December 2017 that laws protecting net neutrality would be repealed. Now, six months later, the F.C.C. made good on its promises. On Monday, it repealed net neutrality protections that advocates say ensured equal and fair access to the internet.
Can Net Neutrality Still Be Saved?
Just last month, “the Senate passed by a 52–47 margin a resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to overturn the FCC’s misguided decision,” as Free Press reports. With over 175 House members supporting the resolution at the moment, the House may soon reach the 218 members required to sign a discharge petition and force a vote on the matter.
In response, Free Press and fellow advocates of net neutrality have instituted legal action to challenge the F.C.C.’s repeal of net neutrality protections in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. The case is expected to be heard before the end of 2018. Free Press states the C.R.A. and the federal court case against the F.C.C. are just two parts of a multi-pronged approach to bring back net neutrality.
Matt Wood, director for the Free Press Action Fund Policy, stated that while F.C.C. Chairman Ajit Pai and “the ISPs that give him his marching orders” may be happy with the “decision to rob internet users of their rights”, the victory will only be temporary and Congress will wake up to the overwhelming public support for net neutrality.
“Today’s repeal marks a new era without any protections for internet access users,” Wood clarified. “Polls show that 86 percent of voters — including 82 percent of Republicans — oppose today’s repeal. More than 50 percent of voters say a candidate’s support for the 2015 Net Neutrality rules is important to their voting decision in November’s congressional elections.”
Free Press Calls FCC’s Argument False “Propaganda”
Wood berated Ajit Pai and broadband companies like AT&T and Comcast for their role in blocking, manipulating and discriminating against internet users. Wood insisted that net neutrality did not negatively affect broadband investment and deployment as the F.C.C. claims. Instead, he claims Free Press and its allies proved broadband deployment, speed and performance continued to improve with the net neutrality protections in place.
“Net Neutrality rules protect everyone’s right to a free and open internet,” Wood revealed. “They safeguard free expression, entrepreneurship and education, especially for people of color, LGBTQIA communities, immigrants, dissidents, artists and upstart businesses most likely to face discrimination based on the political and commercial whims of broadband providers.”
“The repeal of these rights today is a loss for our democracy and our country, but one we will fight to set right by winning them back,” added Wood.