Time Is Running Out: Tell the FCC Why Net Neutrality Is Important to You

You have until July 18 to tell the FCC what you think of its loathsome proposal to allow rampant discrimination online.

Already close to 50,000 Free Press members have submitted comments urging the agency to scrap Chairman Tom Wheeler’s pay-to-play plan and take steps to protect real Net Neutrality.

There’s still time to add your voice. Need inspiration? Check out the comments from some of our activists below:

I am currently 22, going to UC Irvine, and I can proudly say that the majority of my knowledge was not gained because of my failed public schooling, but because of my own curiosity and the openness of the Internet. I was born into poverty with my mother making only $20,000 a year. My formal educational system was a complete failure. I knew I was smart, but just did not attempt to make an effort living in a neighborhood that produces more gang members than high school graduates. Thanks to my own commitment for a better life and a better education, I went to community college and changed myself dramatically, which I can directly attribute … to the Internet and its nondiscriminatory policies.

Any question that popped into my young curious mind I would make an Internet search and gain more knowledge about the world, which is necessary in a democracy.

Please keep the Internet open for everyone and [don't] make a class-based Internet where information can potentially be stifled.

— Arturo Hurtado, Cudahy, Calif.

I am in the process of starting my own Internet-based creative marketing and design agency. I graduated from university in 2010. Hiring was at an all-time low. If I wanted my dream job I knew I would have to create it. I am elated about the prospect of creating jobs for others in my community as I see many struggling to find work. The Internet allows entrepreneurs to build startups with relatively low overhead. It is the newest and arguably greatest platform to foster the American dream of creating a better life for yourself and others within your community. … Why would the government want to interfere with middle-class job creation? Why would it want to work against itself to tarnish the American dream? Internet Neutrality is important for small businesses. It is important for job creation. It is important for freedom of speech. Take it away and you would be doing this country a shameful disservice.

— Kathryn Reina, Tampa

As a disabled veteran, Net Neutrality is extremely important to me. I schedule a lot of my appointments online and discuss results of tests with my doctor online as well. I am not a rich man, I make just a little above minimum wage. Asking those like me to pay more for what should be free would ultimately be detrimental to me and those like me. We would see our access to basic services crippled beyond belief while those who have deep pockets would bulldoze us into the ground. Please, do not implement this poisonous plan to end Net Neutrality.

— Eric, Ladson, S.C.

Six months ago, I started a website called The Nerd Assembly, a blogging site where we share our thoughts on all things pop culture. We’ve seen a steady increase in traffic the last few months, but nothing that’s making us much money. We do it because we love it.

Net Neutrality — TRUE Net Neutrality — makes The Nerd Assembly possible. The Internet is a level playing field, a place where there is true freedom. But with these new rules, you will kill that. Give the power to the Internet service providers, and you will kill us smaller sites.

Beyond that, you will essentially censor what I see, what sites I visit. My privacy, my freedom, will be a thing of the past.

If you want to make money from the Internet, then figure out another way. Take a page from our book, and try a little ingenuity. But don’t fuck us over.

— Emily Allender, Scottsdale, Ariz.

Have you ever tried to play a massive multiplayer online role-playing game with a slow Internet connection? It is the bane of gamers worldwide. And with Net Neutrality gone, game connections will suffer if they can't pay. Which means mobs of gamers angrily storming the streets.

And nobody wants that, right? Right. Because let’s face it: There’s nothing worse than gamer geeks motivated by revenge and anger towards a corrupt system hell-bent on taking away their online lives.

— Ryan Escherich, San Diego

Ending Net Neutrality is by far the worst idea I have ever heard of. I could make metaphor after metaphor comparing this decision to all varying degrees of ignorance but I won’t.

I will say: This is obviously a huge scam and the only winner is the cable companies (who basically already have a monopoly and barely provide decent service as is). I sit here trying my hardest not to burst into a flurry of curse words and debauchery but it gets harder the more I think about how screwed up this is. I already pay enough for the crappy Internet I currently receive. Why then do you think for any second that I would be OK with having to pay more for the same crappy Internet.

End this charade and stop negotiations over this idea and reclassify ISPs as common carriers.

— Nathan Fisher, Alabaster, Ala.

I'm a single mother to two children. My oldest son is severely disabled. In order to provide better for them and get him the best healthcare I can, I’ve gone back to school online, because working two jobs, that’s the only way I can go. Net Neutrality keeps my tuition affordable for my life situation. Take that away, and you jack up my tuition, and the tuition of thousands of parents like me, which will result in many, if not most or all of us being unable to continue our education in the only way that works for our lives: online. There are so many ways Net Neutrality no longer being a “thing” will impact our lives; I think this is probably one of the strongest.

— Des, Leesburg, Fla.

News media is dying, cable TV is dying. In 10 years free and equal access to the Net will be the only way to ensure that Americans will be able to communicate with one another, to get updates on current events.

A free and open exchange of ideas and information is the most important aspect of ensuring a healthy democracy. If you turn this power over to private industry you will be turning over a vital part of our society in the next century.

— Alexander Zeese, Washington, D.C.

As a freelance graphic designer and entrepreneur, I cannot afford to pay my hard-earned money to corporations that have more than they could ever spend just to make sure my content gets delivered. If Net Neutrality disappears, it would cost me my dreams. Please don’t kill my dreams.

— Colby Jackson, Mobile, Ala.

There has never been anything like the Internet in history. Humanity has unparalleled access to information and to an egalitarian space that allows everyone an equal chance to be heard. Huge corporations like Verizon, AT&T, and Comcast will always find ways to get around regulations to keep them from owning (see: ruining) everything, but that doesn’t mean you need to hand them an EASY victory. Stand up to them. Do what the FCC is supposed to do. Protect Net Neutrality and equal access for EVERYONE.

— Amanda Hefner, Lincoln, Neb.

As a recently graduated high school student, I can tell you that I depend heavily on the Internet for research. In my studies, I have used everything from online academic journals to documentaries on Netflix. Now, I’ve seen the reports on how Comcast strong-armed Netflix into paying more for Comcast’s services. This is akin to allowing the United States Post Office to charge National Geographic more to ship their product because magazines take up more room in the mail truck.

… As a student, an American and a seeker of knowledge, I ask you to protect Net Neutrality from corporate interests.

— Andrew White, Fort Mill, S.C.

I am a small-business owner, as is my wife-to-be. I’m one of the little guys, the upstarts, and someday, maybe I’ll be a huge success.

It will take powerful content, relentless self-promotion, sincere networking and constant education. Those are all things that the Internet as it exists today offers. It also offers my voice and my vision to be broadcast under the same rules as any of the major players. May the best idea win.

I’m not naive enough to think the world is a meritocracy, but up until recently, the Internet provided the closest thing to it.

I don’t have the money to sway your opinion. I’m no Lowell McAdam or Brian Roberts. But for now at least, I have as equal access to this website as any other in the world, and I’m going to use that access to tell you to leave this powerful tool for innovation we call the Internet the hell alone.

— Thomas Dixon, Casper, Wyo.

As a librarian, I firmly believe in the necessity of being able to provide good Internet service to all users. Society is becoming increasingly integrated with and dependent upon online services. For example, many employers only accept online applications, and while this is convenient in many ways, it is difficult to apply for jobs without online access. I have seen many poor people trying to apply for jobs and they are dependent upon the library for Internet access. The public library in town has terrible Internet speeds and an ever-shrinking budget, and this has a negative impact on the ability of people to apply for jobs. That is only one example of an already existing digital divide. Do not make it worse by allowing ISPs to charge a higher rate for faster speeds.

— Ellen Davis, Anchorage, Alaska

Without Net Neutrality, my business will go under, and my dog will starve to death.

So if you do away with Net Neutrality, you are literally murdering a corgi. Is that what you want on your hands? Corgi murder? Because that is what you’re getting. A dead corgi. Because you couldn’t just leave things as they were … and the rich people were already getting rich as it is.

Stop killing corgis, FCC.

— Luke Collins, Oak Creek, Wis.

Tell the FCC why Net Neutrality is important to you.

Original photo by Flickr user Peter Rabbit