As the FCC gears up to eliminate net neutrality and many of the protections outlined in its 2015 Open Internet Order, coming together and organizing is more important than ever. Currently, 4.9 million comments have been submitted to the FCC, many in support of net neutrality and maintaining the internet as a Title II telecommunications service. The FCC is accepting comments through mid-August.
There is still time to show your support for net neutrality and the FCC needs to hear from you.
If the FCC moves forward with what it suggests in the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, you can expect there to be no rules protecting net neutrality and therefore free expression online. Internet Service Providers (ISPs), like Comcast, AT&T and Verizon, will be able to censor content and viewpoints that they do not agree with, making it harder for people and groups from marginalized communities to organize for change and get their messages out to the masses.
For Latino content creators, consumers, entrepreneurs, and advocates, the internet has provided access to new audiences and leveled the playing field with larger corporations.
The FCC’s Title II authority also helps ensure that we have enforceable rules that protect us, the consumers, from our ISPs blocking or throttling websites, and from entering into paid prioritization arrangements with exclusive content providers.
- No Blocking means that your ISP cannot cut off your access to websites or applications. Without this rule, ISPs will have power to decide what websites you should have access to, and could do so without any legal repercussions.
- No Throttling means that your ISPs cannot intentionally slow down the connection you have to certain websites or applications. Without this rule, ISPs can makes it more difficult for you to use certain websites, frustrating your access without completely blocking the website or application.
- No Paid Prioritization means that ISPs cannot enter into special arrangements with websites or content providers to access the end-user with a prioritized and faster connection. Without this rule, ISPs could explore paid prioritization arrangements, resulting in higher barrier to entry to internet start-ups or small businesses, and increased prices for consumers.
Finally, the FCC’s Title II authority is also important for the Lifeline broadband program. Without Title II, Lifeline broadband and the goal of bridging the digital divide will be in jeopardy. Lifeline is a program that was modernized to assist low-income families with access to affordable internet. Without this vital piece of the Lifeline program, many low-income Latino families who struggle with inequities in employment, education, and healthcare opportunities will continue to be left behind. We need policies that help us close the digital divide, not widen it.
NHMC has outlined a guide for all those new to the net neutrality debate in this one-pager called the Five Facts You Need To Know About Net Neutrality. Use it to learn more and to spread the information to friends, family, and others in your community.
You can submit comments to the FCC at (888) 225-5322 or online. Also, call your Senator or Congressman at (202) 224-3121 to voice your concerns.
We must unite and have our voices heard. Together we can save the internet.