The Big Net Neutrality Win One Week Out

A week ago today the FCC made history when it passed the strongest Net Neutrality rules EVER.

Let’s just pause for a second to take that in:

In an era in which corporations have nearly unlimited influence, the public prevailed. So while we still have the Budweiser Events Center in Colorado and the KFC Yum! Center in Kentucky, we don’t have the Comcast-AT&T-Verizon Internet.

The fight to save the Internet goes back 10 years, but it was in 2014 that the effort ramped up to unprecedented heights. The grassroots activism that defined the Net Neutrality fight pushed FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler — a former lobbyist, mind you — to abandon an industry-friendly proposal and preserve the Internet’s level playing field.

And on the day of the vote — which he called the “proudest day” of his public-policy life — Wheeler spoke eloquently about his turnaround:

We heard from startups and world-leading tech companies. We heard from ISPs, large and small. We heard from public-interest groups and public-policy think tanks. We heard from members of Congress and, yes, the president. Most important, we heard from nearly 4 million Americans who overwhelmingly spoke up in favor of preserving an open Internet.

We listened. We learned. And we adjusted our approach based on the public record. In the process we saw a graphic example of why open and unfettered communications are essential to freedom of expression in the 21st century.

The morning of the vote, staff from Free Press, the Center for Media Justice, Common Cause and other allied organizations held a victory rally in the falling snow outside the FCC. That evening, we held a huge party in Washington, D.C., while our friends at the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Internet Archive held their own happy bash in San Francisco. And we teamed up with Demand Progress and Fight for the Future to fly a Grumpy Cat Net Neutrality banner outside Comcast headquarters in Philadelphia.

The fight’s not over. We’re already seeing congressional attempts to overturn the FCC’s rules, and lawsuits from the big ISPs are likely just around the bend.

We’ll keep fighting as long and as hard as we need to (and given the boundless nature of ISP greed, that will likely be forever). To stay involved, tell Congress to stop meddling with the Internet, help fund the fight, and stay tuned.