Net Neutrality — We Need Your Help! – https://dearfcc.org/
It’s critical that nonprofits make their voices heard in favor of Net Neutrality. Read on, or take immediate action.
Traditionally, nonprofits familiar with Net Neutrality have tended to regard it as a “techie” issue that is beyond what any individual nonprofit can meaningfully influence.
It’s time to reset our thinking as a community. If we think of the Internet as the air nonprofits must breathe in order to function effectively, then our collective air supply is about to be sharply rationed. “Letting the techies deal with it” is no longer an option.
In April 2017, the U.S. Federal Communication Commission (FCC), under new Trump-appointed Chairman Ajit Pai, drafted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. If this proposal goes forward, it will end the existing regulatory approach popularly known as Net Neutrality.
Net Neutrality requires Internet service providers to treat all web traffic equally. Put simply, you aren’t allowed to pay less if you are a “wholesale” user, and you can’t be forced to pay more if you are a “retail” user. The 2015 rules the FCC proposes to overturn require Internet providers to be fair to all customers. Internet providers must also abide by transparency rules to make public disclosures about hidden fees and data caps.
The new rules will allow blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization by Internet providers. Providers will be able to give preference to some customers, and slow down or choke off others. In much of the country, Internet providers hold a virtual monopoly on broadband services, and under the new rules, they would be permitted to raise rates dramatically.
Internet Will Cost Us More or We Will Get Less
To put it very plainly, nonprofits could be forced to pay more to avoid being stuck in the “slow lane” of the Internet.
This is not in the intended spirit of the Internet. It is not in the interests of nonprofits. It is not in the interests of the communities we serve.
It is vitally important the FCC hear from as many nonprofits as possible. Techsoup has submitted a comment that you can read here. Instructions for how to make your voice heard are at the bottom of this blog post. It is critical that the volume (and content) of the comments submitted be sufficient to let the FCC know how many people care about what it is doing and are watching carefully.
Comments from nonprofits can simply focus on how you use and depend on the Internet to conduct your mission and on how slowdowns and increased rate charges would negatively impact your work.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation and a broad coalition have designated July 12 as a Day of Action. TechSoup will be there and we urge you to participate, too. Together, we still have a chance of changing some FCC minds.
How to Submit Your Comment
- To submit a comment to the FCC, go to the FCC website. Look for the title “Restoring Internet Freedom,” probably at the top of the list.
- Next, click on the Express Reply link under Comment/Reply, then fill in your name and other information including your comment. All information submitted, including names and addresses, will be publicly available via the web.
- Another option is to use the Electronic Frontier Foundation “Dear FCC” form at https://dearfcc.org/.
We believe it really is time to care about Net Neutrality. Together, let’s make our voices heard!