Free Press Pushes the FCC to Learn to Love Title II

At Free Press, we’ve been hammering home the message that FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler needs to scrap his plan to allow discrimination online and take steps to protect real Net Neutrality. Millions of Americans want the same thing.

On Monday, we submitted our reply comments on the chairman’s proposed rules, once again urging the agency to reclassify broadband providers as common carriers under Title II of the Communications Act. This is the only way to save the open Internet — for good.

In our comments, we debunk the claim from Wheeler and the likes of Comcast that crafting new rules based on Section 706 of the Communications Act will do the trick.

“Section 706 promises nothing but uncertainty and future legal battles; it’s a shoddy and ineffective way to protect the Internet,” said Free Press Policy Director Matt Wood. “Title II, on the other hand, provides ample authority for the Commission to prevent access charges, blocking, undue discrimination, paid prioritization and all manner of unjust and unreasonable practices.”

Though Wheeler has insisted from the get-go that he doesn’t plan to allow fast lanes online, his actual proposal tells a different story. This is why AT&T, Comcast and Verizon love his plan: It would let them create a two-tiered Internet where only the tiniest handful of companies would be able to pay for speedy access. Goodbye level playing field; hello members-only country club.

As the Net Neutrality activists who rallied yesterday in New York City and Philly know, Wheeler’s plan is a recipe for disaster. This is the message Matt Wood brought today to the FCC, where he participated in a policy roundtable on the scope of this proposal.

Though the deadline for public comments on these rules closed at midnight, the fight for strong open Internet protections is far from over. First order of business: to get Wheeler and the other commissioners to leave D.C. and hold public town hall-style hearings on Net Neutrality.

Roundtables alone just won’t cut it.