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This week, Public Knowledge leads a group of public interest and racial justice allies in welcoming net neutrality advocates from across the United States to Washington, D.C. for a “Day of Advocacy.” Volunteers plan to express how important net neutrality is to their lives, schools, and businesses and why Congress should support the Congressional Review Act resolution to reinstate the FCC’s strong net neutrality rules. More than 50 participants volunteered to share their stories in scheduled meetings with their representatives on Capitol Hill.
Public Knowledge, Access Now, Center for American Progress Action Fund, Center for Media Justice, Common Cause, Consumers Union, Demand Progress, Engine, Fight for the Future, Free Press Action Fund, National Hispanic Media Coalition, Native Public Media, and New America’s Open Technology Institute will help participants meet with their representatives.
The following can be attributed to Chris Lewis, Vice President at Public Knowledge:
“Net Neutrality Advocacy Day is one of those rare days in Washington communications policy when American citizens of all stripes and from diverse communities come together to directly exercise their first amendment right to petition their representatives in government to make the policy decision in their interest: the public interest. Most days the FCC and Congress are dominated by the opinions of large cable and telecom companies with armies of well-paid Washington lobbyists.
“Tuesday, in both Washington and in communities around the country, Americans are lobbying for themselves. Some FCC commissioners have dismissed the overwhelming public support for restoring net neutrality rules, but they are unelected. Members of Congress ignore the overwhelming bipartisan support for net neutrality at their own risk. Public Knowledge is proud to lead this effort with the partnership of many other organizations.
“The country has now been without clear rules preventing broadband providers from blocking or throttling internet content or services, or from engaging in paid prioritization of some content over others, for 15 days. Reporters have documented how companies have begun to roll back their commitment to maintaining an open internet without these rules. If broadband providers, with the silent assent of policy makers, continue to walk away from net neutrality and other consumer protections over broadband, Americans could begin to see fewer choices online, higher prices, and an internet that looks more like the tiered offerings of cable television.
“Net neutrality contains simple rules that protect a free market online. It is popular, produced billions of dollars for increased investment in more broadband, and was upheld in court twice. It is time for the House to follow the bipartisan vote of the Senate and restore net neutrality rules by signing the discharge petition for the net neutrality CRA resolution and approve it immediately.”
The following can be attributed to Yosef Getachew, Director of Media and Democracy program at Common Cause:
“Common Cause is proud to join its allies in support of the net neutrality day of advocacy. The overwhelming majority of Americans understand that strong net neutrality rules are the prerequisite for an open and citizen-friendly internet. Members of Congress will hear directly from their constituents -- everyday Americans from all walks of life -- on why net neutrality is important to them. Tomorrow’s advocacy demonstrates the strong voice of the American people demanding an open internet and urging their elected officials to support the resolution restoring the FCC’s net neutrality rules.”
The following can be attributed to Jonathan Schwantes, Senior Policy Counsel at Consumers Union, the advocacy division of Consumer Reports:
“The repeal of net neutrality rules will have real-life consequences for business owners, educators, activists, and consumers from every walk of life. House members tomorrow will hear directly from their constituents on how an internet without net neutrality could hurt their districts and why this legislation restoring net neutrality protections should be a priority now. The bipartisan success of this effort in the Senate was largely thanks to the overwhelming output of public support for net neutrality. We hope that House lawmakers will follow their lead, listen to the consumers they are supposed to represent, and advance this legislation swiftly.”
The following can be attributed to Pierce Stanley, Technology Fellow at Demand Progress:
“Net neutrality is not a partisan issue outside of Washington, DC, and constituents and small businesses are the perfect messengers to help lawmakers understand that. After the Senate voted to restore strong net neutrality protections, the public is paying close attention, and they’re not going to let up pressure until their representatives in the House have signed on to force a vote on the resolution to overturn the FCC’s disastrous repeal.”
The following can be attributed to Evan Engstrom, Executive Director at Engine:
“Net neutrality has been critical to startups, who rely on the internet to be a level playing field where they can compete against companies of all sizes on their merits. Without the protections found in the 2015 net neutrality rules, startups will not be able to afford to pay more than well-funded incumbents for better access to users, making it more difficult and expensive to bring new, innovative products and services into the market.
“Now that the Senate has passed a measure to overturn the FCC's repeal, the House should quickly follow suit to reinstate net neutrality protections and restore the internet to the level playing field that startups need to succeed.”
The following can be attributed to Sandra Fulton, Government Relations Director at Free Press Action Fund:
“People have been using the internet to save the internet every day. Tomorrow, they’re taking action in person, urging their elected representatives to stand with the vast majority of Americans who oppose the FCC’s unpopular decision to repeal net neutrality protections. We know that the open internet is critical for marginalized communities that corporate media have misrepresented; that it’s essential for free speech and political organizing online; and that working families need an open network to survive just as much as tech entrepreneurs do. Tomorrow we join together to make sure elected officials hear our demands and stand with the people against a phone and cable lobby that has held sway in Washington for far too long.”
The following can be attributed to Francella Ochillo, Director, Government & Legal Affairs at National Hispanic Media Coalition:
“Net Neutrality cannot be separated from the ongoing fight for social justice and equality. For Latinos and other communities of color who have limited access to traditional media outlets, the open Internet has been a platform for them to create new opportunities and tell their own stories without gatekeepers standing in the way. Without Net Neutrality, communities of color will continue to be disenfranchised and face additional, unnecessary obstacles in organizing for change.”
Please view our event page for more information on Net Neutrality Advocacy Day. Participants are available for interview.