Earlier this week, the United States Federal Communications Commission (or FCC) extended its deadline for initial comments on rules that would allow Big Telecom conglomerates to force all websites who can’t pay expensive fees for privileged access into an Internet slow lane. The reason for the delay? Internet users around the world spoke out in such great numbers that the FCC’s servers came crashing down.
Needless to say, it’s been a busy week in the fight for authentic net neutrality. So, to get us all up to speed on where the debate currently sits, we’ve summed up some of the most noteworthy events in the last week below. Let us know in the comments if we missed anything!
1. Net Neutrality Has Gone Viral:
Despite Jon Oliver’s claim that ‘net neutrality’ are, and I quote, “...the only two words in the English language that promise more boredom are the words ‘featuring Sting’” – they sure have caught on! Between the unbelievable Comcast customer service call, this (mostly) NSFW CollegeHumor video, and mounting press attention from big and small media alike, the issue has ignited a firestorm across the net. And this would have never happened without hundreds of thousands of open Internet advocates like you speaking out.
2. We Broke 1 Million Comments, and are Rapidly Closing in on Janet Jackson:
As Free Press CEO Craig Aaron put it: “Sorry Ms. Jackson: Net Neutrality is the Biggest thing Ever at the FCC”. Earlier this week, we broke one million comments on the FCC docket, putting us in second place for the most comments ever on a given FCC issue. First place? Janet Jackson’s infamous 2004 Superbowl incident with Justin Timberlake, which received nearly 1.4 million complaints. The good news is that while the initial deadline for comments on net neutrality are closing in the next few hours, the public still has until the final September 10 deadline to comment. And don’t worry: we’ll break 1.4 million comments.
Today, Free Press formally released the definitive case for Net Neutrality, which they have now filed with the FCC. Earlier this week, thousands of OpenMedia supporters took action to stand with Free Press and endorse their expert legal challenge to the rules being forced by Big Telecom. Together, we were able to add the weight of a growing international pro-Internet community to their efforts, to amplify our pro-net neutrality message. If we’ve learned anything from this fight, it’s that collaboration is key. And we will continue to collaborate and amplify your voices going forward.
Public outcry over net neutrality crashed the FCC’s website. Originally, the final day to file initial comments was midnight (EST) on Wednesday. But, surprise surprise: that morning, the public comment system received an extraordinary amount of traffic from Internet users around the world, which brought it down. In response, your OpenMedia team joined with dozens of other pro-Internet groups to hand deliver comments to the FCC’s main office in Washington, DC.
5. Major Tech Firms Come Out in Support of Net Neutrality
In addition to the massive call from Internet users around the world, dozens and dozens of high profile and innovative organizations have come out in favor of authentic net neutrality. All of the these groups, including some unexpected allies that I wrote about earlier in the week, share a passion for the open Internet that is nothing short of inspiring, and many would have never taken such bold positions if they weren’t emboldened by supporters like you.
So, in short, it’s been an exciting week for open Internet advocates everywhere. The battle for genuine net neutrality continues, and we have to keep the pressure up. The FCC’s initial deadline for comments ends at 11:59PM EST tonight, so, if you haven’t already, please speak out at https://OpenMedia.org/SlowLane, and we’ll make sure your voice is heard.