What’s happening with Obama’s Internet promise?

CREDO action
Tell FCC Chair Tom Wheeler: No more waiting. Net Neutrality now.

Tell FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler:
"Tom Wheeler, please publicly explain why you're still 'considering a rainbow of options' when the American people have spoken and asked you to reclassify broadband under Title II, the one clear path the courts have indicated for preventing fast and slow lanes and protecting the Open Internet. Please stop the silence and address the public now."

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Dear 5849376,

Net Neutrality Now

More than 3 million people have called on the FCC to protect the open Internet — an amazing and unprecedented outpouring of public response to the FCC. And it makes sense, all of us — whether individuals, non-profits, or small businesses — have come to rely on an Internet that's free from censorship, and oppose the creation of a tiered Internet where big corporations can pay for better service, while small businesses, activists, bloggers, artists, and others are forced into slow lanes.

But there's still one big problem. The man who heads the FCC, Tom Wheeler, has been holed up in his office in DC and is staying silent — in the face of millions calling on the commission to reclassify broadband Internet service as a Title II service, the path the courts have twice called-out as the only way for the FCC to enforce net neutrality rules.

Tell FCC Chair Tom Wheeler: Please stop the silence and address the public now. Click here to sign the petition.

Wheeler needs to explain publicly why he's still "considering a rainbow of options"1 when there is only one clear path the courts have indicated for preventing fast and slow lanes and protecting the Open Internet: reclassifying broadband under Title II.

Is Wheeler is confused? Does his silence have something to do with Wheeler being a former lobbyist for the cable industry? We can't get inside his head, and we don't know. But it's past time to find out.

Today we're not asking you to join us in calling on Wheeler to do the right thing. We've done that and you've stepped up. Now, we're asking you to call on Tom Wheeler to publicly explain why — in the face of the American public clearly stating what we want — he's sitting on his hands.

Tell FCC Chair Tom Wheeler: Please stop the silence and address the public now. Click here to sign the petition.

Literally millions of Americans and small businesses, more than a hundred startup companies and venture capitalists, and several huge brick and mortar business have called for the FCC to reclassify broadband Internet access as a Title II service.2 The voices on the other side? Literally a handful of major ISPs (Internet Service Providers), like AT&T, Comcast, Verizon, and those who are connected to them financially.

It's not an exaggeration to say this fight breaks down to the will of the American people versus that of a handful of companies like Comcast and Verizon that want to extract extra fees on top of huge profit margins, simply because they're in a position to do so. From its inception the Internet has operated under the idea that all traffic is created equal. Whether you're NBC or someone with a blog, once on the Internet, your bits move with the same prioritization as everyone else's.

At this moment, everyone is paying for the traffic they use and the ISPs are making a handsome profit. Yet the large ISPs want to change the way this works. They want to create fast and slow lanes, giving preferential treatment to those who can afford to pay, providing the ISPs with new and even larger revenue streams. It's good for their business but bad for everyone else.

Tell FCC Chair Tom Wheeler: Please stop the silence and address the public now. Click here to sign the petition.

President Obama made campaign promises to protect Net Neutrality, and says he's still against a tiered Internet.3 Wheeler was appointed to head the FCC and keep that promise – and while he has said he's against slow lanes, in May he put forward a proposal that would allow for them.4 He's said he's for rules that would prohibit paid prioritization, but to this day he's refused to use the approach the courts have indicated to be the only viable route — and instead keeps toying with the idea of using rules (under section 706 of the 1996 Telecommunications Act) that the courts have twice rejected.5

From a distance it looks like Wheeler is talking out of both sides of his mouth. But we'd like to give him more credit than that. What makes it impossible is that Wheeler isn't even coming out in public to explain what's going on. He's kept himself locked up in DC, meeting only with a select few, and leaving the public in the dark.

In 2009 the FCC under Julius Genachowski passed rules which it claimed would assure Net Neutrality and protect an open Internet.5 Even the FCC's own lawyers predicted that these rules wouldn't hold up in court if the FCC didn't reclassify broadband Internet access as a Title II service. Then, Chairman Genachowski wanted to have it both ways – telling the public he was protecting Net Neutrality but issuing sham rules that the big telecom companies knew they could overturn in court. In January, the courts ruled in favor of Verizon and threw out the FCC's old rules on Net Neutrality.

Chairman Wheeler can't serve the people and shill for AT&T, Comcast and Verizon at the same time. We won't allow the FCC – which has a majority of Democrats and a clear mandate from President Obama to protect our open Internet – to repeat the mistakes of Chairman Genachowski. We need to make sure Chairman Tom Wheeler understands that the American people won't be fooled by half measures or legally doomed bureaucratic machinations.

Tell FCC Chair Tom Wheeler: Please stop the silence and address the public now. Click the link below to sign the petition now:


Thank you for standing up for Net Neutrality.

Becky Bond, Political Director
CREDO Action from Working Assets

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  1. "FCC examining 'rainbow' of suggestions for Web rules," The Hill, September 22, 2014.
  2. "Join the Battle for Net Neutrality"
  3. "Obama: White House Expects FCC To Uphold Net Neutrality," Huffington Post, October 9, 2014.
  4. "How The FCC's Proposed Fast Lanes Would Actually Work," Public Knowledge, May 16, 2014.
  5. "Court Tosses Rules of Road for Internet," Wall Street Journal, January 14, 2014.
  6. "FCC Open Internet Order 2010," Wikipedia.

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