Tag Archives: net neutrality

Letter to Governor Brown re: California’s SB 822 for Net Neutrality

I sent the following to the California Governor’s office, urging him to sign SB 822.

Dear Governor Brown,

I’m writing today to urge you to sign SB 822 into law and restore net neutrality protections within California. SB 822 goes further than the now-repealed FCC rules at protecting business competition, consumer choice, and freedom of communication over the internet.

As it stands today, we’re back to trusting the cable companies to have our best interests at heart. Competition won’t keep them in check. Many areas only have one or two ISPs to choose from.

Before the FCC stepped in, ISPs would do things like intercept and redirect search queries, block tethering apps, or block VOIP applications on their phone networks. Now that the FCC has stepped back, we’re already seeing cellular companies throttling service. In this era of increased consolidation, it’s not hard to imagine a cable company that’s part of a media conglomerate choose to prioritize data for their parent company’s streaming service over a competitor’s service. They could also legally slow down access to websites critical of the company, or sites that advocate political positions that the owners disagree with.

Net neutrality helps businesses. It helps start-ups. It helps consumers. It helps political activists. It helps *citizens*. And while the ISPs might tell you it will hurt them, they managed all right before the FCC repealed its rules. Abandoning net neutrality helps ONLY the cable and phone companies, at everyone else’s expense.

The effort to re-instate the FCC’s rules at the national level faces an uphill climb. If that effort fails, we can still preserve a free internet in California – and serve as an example to other states. If it succeeds, SB 822 will provide even more protection. With this in mind, I hope that you’ll sign SB 822 and restore net neutrality in California.

Thank you.

Red Alert for Net Neutrality

Net Neutrality ensures your cable company can’t pick winners and losers from the sites you visit and services you use online. It was a guiding principle of the net until ISPs tried to violate it. After a long effort, the FCC stepped in and made the principle a legal requirement in the US.

The new FCC is rolling it all back, which helps no one except Comcast, AT&T, etc. Congress can stop it. The big ISPs are trying to present it as big government vs. business in order to make it partisan.

It’s not government vs. business. It’s everyone vs. your cable company.

Net Neutrality helps you, your business, your friends, your political organization, the people who make your favorite shows, games and books, literally everyone except the big ISPs. (And possibly entrenched players with deep pockets who would cheerfully let ISPs stifle any start-ups that might threaten them with *gasp* competition.)

The Senate is voting soon on a resolution to undo the FCC’s rollback and keep net neutrality alive. But those big ISPs have convinced most of the GOP senators that they’re the only side that matters. We need to convince them otherwise. Right now we need one more vote in the Senate to pass the CRA, and then we can move on to the House.

Contact your lawmakers today at Battle for the Net!

Killing the Goose #NetNeutrality

Well, they did it. The FCC voted 3-2 on party lines to scrap Net Neutrality even though 83% of voters across the board want to keep it, even though scrapping it doesn’t help anyone except the giant cable & phone companies and those they decide to bless with their approval, even though it’s the only thing other than trust preventing those cable & phone companies from placing restrictions on how you use the internet and where you go…and you can surely use your imagination as to how that can be abused.

But you trust your cable company, right?

The fight moves to Congress now. They can still nullify the action through the Congressional Review Act – ironically, the same method they used earlier this year to wipe out privacy rules that the FCC put in place under the last administration.

Write Congress. Call your Senators. Call your Representative. Battle for the Net.

The Internet Needs Your Help

On Thursday, the FCC is planning to vote to allow your cable company to decide which news sites you get to access, which streaming sites you get to use, intercept your search queries, charge you extra for accessing specific sites (even if you already pay a subscription to the site in question), etc.

Oh, they’re not framing it that way of course. They’re framing it as removing an “unnecessary and burdensome” regulation.

But Title II Net Neutrality is the only legal framework in place that’s preventing, say, AT&T from blocking Skype, or Verizon from blocking tethering apps, or Comcast from slowing down Netflix until Netflix paid them extra — all things that happened in the decade leading up to the rule being adopted.

It’s also keeping ISPs from doing what they do in countries that don’t have net neutrality, like offering different internet packages based on which sites you use. Yeah, they look like cable TV packages. It would suck to be a startup company that’s not included in one of those packages, wouldn’t it? Tricky to make any headway against the entrenched giants.

And just think what might happen if a cable company decided to downgrade (or even paywall) access to news sites or organizations or discussion forums or activist groups that they don’t like, while making it easier to connect to those that they do approve of.

“Please, the Internet was fine before it, so why do we need it?” The Internet was built on the principle. It only became an official, legal requirement after ISPs started violating it, and even then it took several tries to build a requirement that held up in court. And phone companies are still trying to push the envelope with bundling and zero rating.

“But competition will solve it!” Really? How much competition is there when you only have two choices for your ISP, the local cable company or the local phone company, both of which are giant conglomerates — and both of which have violated net neutrality in the past?

“The FTC can regulate it!” Nope, we tried that. Verizon sued for the right to arbitrarily block websites and won, which is why the FCC reclassified internet providers under Title II a few years later.

“This is a matter for the states. Let them handle it.” Verizon and Comcast are lobbying for the FCC’s decision to ban states from creating their own net neutrality rules.

Net Neutrality solves a real problem, and while we may be able to find better solutions, that’s no reason to throw out the solution we have today. Congress can stop the FCC from voting tomorrow, but only if they hear from you today! Go to Battle For the Net and call your Representative and Senators before the FCC votes to sell us all out in favor of your cable company.

Groot, Guardian of the Internet

Groot reminds us that Net Neutrality is critical to internet freedom, and we should call Congress TODAY, before Thursday’s FCC vote to eliminate the only thing preventing your cable or phone company from blocking competition, burying news they don’t like, and shaking down startups.

Unless you trust your cable company to have your best interests at heart, head over to Battle for the Net and get Congress to remind the FCC that they work for you, not Verizon and Comcast.

Amazing what Groot can fit into just three words, isn’t it? 😉