Net neutrality is under attack…again. On the day before the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai released a draft plan that would repeal net neutrality in the United States. Net neutrality is the principle that internet service providers (ISPs) should treat all online data the same, and not discriminate or charge different amounts for different audiences. Pai’s proposal—if passed—would completely repeal the 2015 rules set by the previous administration’s FCC. This means that internet service providers “will be free to experiment with fast and slow lanes, prioritize their own traffic, and block apps and services.” ISPs would be required to disclose when they are engaging in these types of activities. The FCC will vote on the proposal on 14 December.
In July we joined hundreds of organisations, thousands of online communities, and millions of internet users in calling on the FCC to protect net neutrality. We wrote:
There are over 1 billion CC-licensed works online, shared freely with anyone with access to the internet. The majority of these works are hosted on content platforms such as Wikipedia, YouTube, Internet Archive, Flickr, and Vimeo. What if you couldn’t access your favorite works because your ISP wants you to see instead content they’re getting paid to promote? What if the video that you created and uploaded online is slowed so others can’t watch it? We know that Creative Commons licensing is only one factor in a healthy open internet ecosystem. A strong digital commons requires universal access to basic digital infrastructure, and enforceable rules that promote fair competition and freedom of information.
The repeal of net neutrality rules in the United States would deal a massive blow to fundamental consumer protections, creativity and innovation, and information sharing online.
The threat to the open internet could not be more dire. Make your voice heard in support of net neutrality. Message and call Congress and attend an in-person protest on December 7.