The FCC will vote tomorrow morning between 10:30 and 12:30 Eastern time on a proposed rule written by FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski which would gut the Internet. It would allow the big carriers to create different tiers of mobile Web access and speed depending on how much you pay, allow them to block what you can access on the web, and would destroy net neutrality.
Given that more and more of the web is being accessed via mobile devices, Senator Al Franken calls this “the most important free speech issue of our time”.
As Franken points out:
Mobile networks like AT&T and Verizon Wireless would be able to shut off your access to content or applications for any reason. For instance, Verizon could prevent you from accessing Google Maps on your phone, forcing you to use their own mapping program, Verizon Navigator, even if it costs money to use and isn’t nearly as good. Or a mobile provider with a political agenda could prevent you from downloading an app that connects you with the Obama campaign (or, for that matter, a Tea Party group in your area).
It gets worse. The FCC has never before explicitly allowed discrimination on the Internet — but the draft Order takes a step backwards, merely stating that so-called “paid prioritization” (the creation of a “fast lane” for big corporations who can afford to pay for it) is cause for concern.
It sure is — but that’s exactly why the FCC should ban it. Instead, the draft Order would have the effect of actually relaxing restrictions on this kind of discrimination.
What’s more, even the protections that are established in the draft Order would be weak because it defines “broadband Internet access service” too narrowly, making it easy for powerful corporations to get around the rules.
Call the FCC today and demand the rejection of Chairman Genachowski’s proposed rule, and the adoption instead of true net neutrality rules for both the mobile and plug-in Internet.
Better yet, demand “Common Carrier” status for all Internet Service Providers – including mobile ones – which would go beyond the net neutrality debate by ensuring that ISPs have no concern for the content of the bits they are moving on their customers’ behalf, and would help to break up the “too big to fail” service/content providers, in the same way the breaking up the too big to fail banks would make the banking system work better.
You can try the main number (1-888-CALL FCC), or here are the Commissioner’s individual phone numbers:
- Julius Genachowski (202) 418-1000
- Michael Copps (202) 418-2000
- Robert M. McDowell (202) 418-2200
- Mignon Clyburn (202) 418-2100
- Meredith Attwell Baker (202) 418-2400
Better yet, fax a letter to the FCC at 1-866-418-0232.
Credo Action also has a free fax campaign. Click here to send a fax to FCC Commissioner Michael Copps to support his efforts to defeat Chairman Genachowski’s proposed rule.