• Advertisement

Make Your Voice Heard On Proposed Changes To Net Neutrality

One of the freedoms we as America covet most of all is our freedom of speech.  It allows us to speak out without fear of reprisal.  Yes this means that Alex Jones’s horrific statements are protected, but that also means that citizens speaking out against a corrupt system of government financing are also protected.

Now what if that ability to speak out was hindered by corporations. This is the foundation of “Net Neutrality,” ensuring that everyone has open and unrestricted access on the internet.

In 2015, the FCC adopted the Open Internet Order, which reclassified broadband as a telecommunication service under Title II. The D.C. Circuit Court upheld the rules in 2016. The FCC’s Open Internet Order prohibits internet service providers from setting up internet fast and slow lanes, ensuring all online traffic is treated the same.

Think of it this way:  What if Comcast or your internet service provider (ISP) could block websites it does not want you to see.    If ISP’s had control over what content was allowed to be viewed by customers do you think you would be reading this post?  Probably not.

Net Neutrality blocks ISP from charging more money or limiting connection speed for specific websites. Imagine if Comcast slowed down websites from their competitors like Hulu or Netflix.

This is why we need strong regulations from the FCC to ensure that the internet is open to all.

Go to the FCC’s website and leave a comment that the FCC should protect a free and open internet.  Tell them to preserve Net Neutrality.

The current period to voice your opinion on Net Neutrality closes on Aug 16th 2017, but some members of  Congress believe we should extend the comment period for at least an extra 30 days.

Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH), a member of the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, joined 21 of her colleagues in calling on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to extend the reply comment period for its proposal to undo the Open Internet Order and net neutrality protections.

“This proceeding has the potential to impact all Americans and as the expert agency, you should ensure that the Commission provides ample time to ensure all voices are heard,” the senators wrote in the letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai.

(Full text of the letter can be found HERE.)

If protecting your freedom of speech is important to you, then make a comment on the FCC’s webpage.  If having unrestricted access to the internet is important to you, then make a comment on the FCC’s webpage.

Make your voice heard, comment now!

Senator Hassan Delivers Floor Speech Highlighting Importance of Net Neutrality

 Speech Emphasizes Benefits of Net Neutrality to Granite State Entrepreneurs, Small Businesses, and Underrepresented Populations 

WASHINGTON – Today, Senator Maggie Hassan delivered remarks on the Senate floor, highlighting the importance of net neutrality to promoting innovation, supporting entrepreneurs and small businesses, and encouraging economic growth in New Hampshire and across the nation. The Senator also underlined the critical role of net neutrality in protecting consumers from unfair practices.

Senator Hassan delivered the speech in light of a vote the Republican-controlled Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will take tomorrow on a notice of proposed rulemaking, which begins the unravelling of common-sense consumer protections that enhance the online experience for Internet users.

Net neutrality is the principle that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) should provide equal access to all applications, content, platforms, and websites, and cannot discriminate against content or content providers by making certain web page, applications, or videos load faster or slower than others. The FCC adopted rules to provide a level playing field and protect against content discrimination, and these rules went into effect in June of 2015.

Key Quotes from Senator Hassan’s speech: 

  • “In giving entrepreneurs a level playing field to turn an idea into a thriving business that reaches a global audience, net neutrality helps promote innovation and boost economic growth.”
  • “Net neutrality isn’t just great for startups and entrepreneurs, it has also created a platform for traditionally underrepresented voices – including women and minorities – to be heard – and as importantly, to add to our economic strength.”
  • “The National Women’s March in January brought together hundreds of thousands of people to raise their voices and organize in marches across the country – and around the world – largely through online activism.”
  • “I will continue fighting to ensure that our regulatory environment is one that spurs innovation, fosters economic growth, supports our small businesses, and allows the next young person with a big idea to prosper.”

 

Click here for video:

 

Senator Hassan Co-Signs Letter On Importance Of Net Neutrality

Image by John Ward (Flikr CC)

Senators Hassan, Cantwell Lead Letter to FCC Chairman Highlighting Importance of Net Neutrality to Women Across America 

In letter, Senators urge Chairman to Reconsider Proposal
Undermining Online Protections for Consumers

WASHINGTON – Today, Senators Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) led a letter to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai highlighting the importance of net neutrality to women across America and urging him to reconsider the proposal he outlined last month to roll back critical online consumer protections by dismantling current net neutrality rules.

The letter was also signed by Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Patty Murray (D-WA), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), and Kamala Harris (D-CA).

“Net neutrality is particularly important to women, as it affords women-owned businesses and startups an even playing field when competing with more established brands and content,” the Senators wrote in the letter.

“The Internet is a powerful tool for civic engagement, as well as a means for economic and social mobility. We cannot overstate the importance of a free and open Internet to our nation’s economy, innovators, entrepreneurs, and consumers – including women and girls,” the Senators added. 

Net neutrality is the principle that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) should provide equal access to all applications, content, platforms, and websites. The Federal Communications Commission adopted rules to provide a level playing field and protect against content discrimination, and these rules went into effect in June of 2015.

 

 

Click here or see below for the full text of the letter:

May 8, 2017

The Honorable Ajit Pai

Chairman

Federal Communications Commission

445 12th Street Southwest

Washington, DC 20554

 

Dear Chairman Pai:

 

We are extremely concerned by your recently announced proposal to roll back critical consumer protections by dismantling the Federal Communications Commission’s current net neutrality rules. This announcement comes mere weeks after President Trump and Congressional Republicans eliminated key online privacy protections for Americans. A free and open Internet is vital to ensuring a level playing field. By preventing Internet Service Providers (ISPs) from discriminating and blocking content, net neutrality helps provide the opportunity for every voice to be heard and every business, no matter how small or new, to thrive.

Net neutrality is particularly important to women, as it affords women-owned businesses and startups an even playing field when competing with more established brands and content. Between 2007 and 2016, while the total number of firms increased by 9 percent, the number of women-owned firms increased by 45 percent – meaning that over this period the number of women-owned firms grew at a rate fully five times the national average.[1] This growth mirrors the emergence of the Internet as a platform for economic growth.  The online sales platform, Etsy, is another example of how women thrive under a free and open Internet. Under the current net neutrality regime, Etsy has empowered sellers in every state across the country, 87 percent of whom are women.[2]

An open Internet is also vital to providing a platform for elevating voices that are underrepresented or marginalized in traditional media, an experience many women in media know well. When turned away by traditional media outlets, many female creators have found a home and an audience for their stories on the open Internet. The vast array of online media platforms enabled by net neutrality give creators permission-less access to viewers, providing autonomy for women of every color and creed to tell rich, compelling stories in their own voices.

In addition, an open Internet has allowed women to organize and create positive change in their communities. This is exemplified by the National Women’s March, which took place in January of this year. Hundreds of thousands of people participated in this March in the United States, as well as abroad, and the movement was largely generated through online activism. The Internet is a powerful tool for civic engagement, as well as a means for economic and social mobility. We cannot overstate the importance of a free and open Internet to our nation’s economy, innovators, entrepreneurs, and consumers – including women and girls.

The net neutrality protections you seek to undo were adopted after a lengthy notice and comment period in which a record-setting 4 million people participated. These rules have withstood legal challenges, and despite claims from net neutrality opponents, investments in broadband have remained at record highs. We hope that you will listen to our constituents who oppose changing the free and open Internet to a “pay-to-play” system with Internet fast lanes and slow lanes. Rather than rolling back protections that help provide an essential platform to creators and innovators, we urge you to instead focus on finding ways to bring more American consumers online with faster and better quality broadband.

As champions of women and girls, the families they support, and their economic opportunities, we will continue to fight for Internet freedom and online fairness. Thank you for your immediate attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

 

The New Fight Over Net Neutrality

Yesterday, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced plans to repeal 2015’s Open Internet rules more commonly known as Net Neutrality.

Net neutrality is the principle that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) should provide equal access to all applications, content, platforms, and websites. The Federal Communications Commission adopted rules to provide a level playing field and protect against content discrimination, and these rules went into effect in June of 2015.

Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter announced her opposition to these proposed changes in a statement:

“I strongly oppose today’s FCC proposal, which would repeal the Open Internet rules we developed to protect consumers and instead let network owners create ‘fast lanes’ and ‘slow lanes’ for web content, allowing some pages, apps, and videos to load faster than others. Repealing Open Internet rules would give Internet service providers unprecedented control over what content consumers can access, and could lead to an Internet that looks more like cable TV, with ‘channels’ of content.

“The FCC must continue to defend net neutrality: the simple principle that lawful content on the Internet should be equally accessible to everyone, and that Internet service providers such as Comcast and Verizon should not be allowed to discriminate against some content providers. It means these Internet service providers shouldn’t be able to create a two-speed Internet, where bigger companies pay for faster speeds, or where customers have to pay more to receive quick service.

“Without the guarantee of network neutrality, the Internet superhighway’s rules of the road will favor big tech businesses over newer startups. The Internet has allowed the proud tradition of American ingenuity and entrepreneurship to reach every corner of the globe. Its openness has enabled a new generation of New Hampshire innovators to turn a bright idea and a laptop into a business. The last thing our economy needs now is for these engines of growth to be slowed,” concluded Shea-Porter.

Shea-Porter was a leader in 2014’s successful fight to defend net neutrality, cosponsoring the Open Internet Preservation Act of 2014, a temporary fix to allow the FCC time to rewrite its rules and defend net neutrality, and sending a letter to then-FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler during development of the Open Internet rules, urging the inclusion of strong consumer protections to prevent anti-competitive behavior and promote innovation. Earlier this year, she and 31 colleagues urged Chairman Pai to follow the 2015 Open Internet rules.

Shea-Porter has continued to be a staunch Internet privacy advocate. She previously introduced the Personal Data Privacy and Security Act of 2014 to ensure consumers are notified quickly if their private information has been compromised, and help prevent cyber-attacks by addressing the underlying problem of lax security and a lack of accountability. She has also co-introduced legislation that would prohibit employers from requiring current and prospective employees from disclosing their personal passwords as a condition of either keeping or getting a job. In March, she voted “no” on S.J.Res.34, Republican legislation that became law and will allow Internet Service Providers to sell private browsing data without a consumer’s permission.

Congresswoman Annie Kuster also opposed rolling back the Net Neutrality provision that she voted for in 2015.

“The free and open internet is critical to growing the industries and jobs that are an important part of the 21st century economy,” said Congresswoman Kuster. “We must ensure that consumers and startups that use the internet have equal access to online content and services. Congress should act to put forward rules of the road that will protect consumers. I’ll continue to advocate for Net Neutrality so that people of all economic backgrounds have equal access to information and internet capabilities.”

Senator Maggie Hassan stated she is concerned with Chairman Pai’s approach.

“I am very concerned by the approach outlined by Chairman Pai, which could undermine critical online protections for consumers and innovators,” said Senator Maggie Hassan. “Net neutrality ensures a level playing field that helps promote innovation and encourage economic growth while protecting consumers from unfair practices. It is essential that we maintain these principals. The FCC should reject Chairman Pai’s approach and work to ensure strong net neutrality rules for all Granite Staters and Americans.”

After the long hard fight to ensure Net Neutrality just two years ago we are once again in a fight over access to the internet.  We must ensure that the Net Neutrality provisions are not eliminated.

Without Net Neutrality Freedom Of Speech Is Lost

image by by  Jhaymesisviphotography (FLICKR CC)

image by Jhaymesisviphotography (FLICKR CC)

The freedom of speech is our most coveted right, and that right is about to be squashed by corporate greed if we do not ensure net neutrality.

Right now the FCC is accepting public comments on a rulemaking change that would threaten how we access the internet, limiting traffic to websites, and blocking internet content. 

“Net neutrality is the idea that internet service providers and governments should not discriminate against or block legal content on the web. If a company like Verizon slowed access to or blocked a competing firm’s website on its networks, it would be violating the concept of net neutrality.” (Truth-Out)

The rulemaking change, which is expertly explained in this article from Truth-Out, shows how these seemingly small changes could have enormous impacts.

As a website owner I am not in direct competition with internet service providers (ISPs) however as a union activist, the content I push may not fall in line with what ISPs like Comcast and Verizon want you to see. Over the past few years the NH Labor News has covered stories about Comcast workers fighting for their right to unionize, and the major CWA – IBEW strike with Verizon workers.

Without net neutrality, Comcast and Verizon could very easily block their paying internet customers from viewing the NH Labor News website, therefor strangling my freedom to speak out against them. I am small potatoes when it comes to the possible union websites that ISP’s could be blocked for being against their business models. The Communication Workers of America, the IBEW, and the AFL-CIO could all be blocked for speaking out against Comcast or Verizon.

There are other potential outcomes if this new rulemaking goes through. Internet service providers could place limits on how much speed is dedicated to particular websites. In simplistic terms this means non paying sites would be slowed down, taking longer to load. Of course sites like Netflix and Google would be able to pay Comcast to ensure that they do not see limits on their content. This would create a two-tiered system of websites, one for the corporations who have millions of dollars to line the pockets of the ISPs, and the rest of us.

This is where we must speak out if we want to keep the internet from becoming another corporate controlled profiteering device. The ISPs want to continue to charge us to access the internet, and charge businesses from the privilege of letting their content be viewed on the ISPs network.

Our voice matters, and our voices are being heard.

Amidst public outcry, the commission added language to the proposed rules asking the public if “paid prioritization” deals could be banned outright, so a federal ban on “fast lanes” is still on the table.” (Truth-Out)

Make you voice heard by contacting the FCC and make sure that they keep the internet open and unrestricted.

“The FCC is taking comments on its proposal at OpenInternet@FCC.gov. The initial deadline for comments in July 15 and the deadline for reply comments is September 15, but the agency is expected to keep the inbox open until it votes to finalize the proposal.”

Whether you like what I have to say, or you are vehemently opposed to what I say, net neutrality ensures that I have the freedom to say it. That freedom is what is really important.

Shea-Porter Sends Letter to FCC Chairman Demanding Net Neutrality

Carol Shea Porter Official PhotoWASHINGTON, DC – Ahead of tomorrow’s Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) meeting regarding new Internet speed and pricing policies, Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01) joined with 35 of her colleagues to send a letter to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler urging strong consumer protections that will prevent anti-competitive behavior and promote innovation.

“As you develop a proposal to oversee access to the Internet, we urge you to adopt strong and enforceable open Internet rules that proactively protect Internet users from unfair practices, including the blockage of lawful traffic or discrimination among content providers by Internet Service Providers,” the letter states.

The letter supports net neutrality, which would prevent Internet service providers, such as Comcast and Verizon, from discriminating against some content providers. It means these Internet service providers shouldn’t be able to create a “two-speed” Internet, where bigger companies pay for faster speeds, or where customers have to pay more to receive quick service.

As the letter continues: “Recognizing our nation’s communications providers as common carriers under the law is common sense. Reclassification would also complement the Commission’s efforts to promote innovation, competition and investment in universally available, reliable and affordable broadband infrastructure. Over one million people have already gone on the record in support of reclassification.”

On Tuesday, Shea-Porter published an Op-Ed in the Union Leader where she noted that “without the guarantee of network neutrality, the Internet superhighway’s rules of the road will favor big tech businesses over newer startups.”

Shea-Porter is a cosponsor of the Open Internet Preservation Act of 2014, a temporary fix to allow the FCC time to rewrite its rules and defend net neutrality.

The text of the letter is below. A PDF with signatures is available at http://1.usa.gov/1mYLx13.

+++

May 14, 2014

The Honorable Thomas Wheeler
Chairman Federal Communications Commission
445 12th Street, SW
Washington, DC20554

Dear Chairman Wheeler,

As you develop a proposal to oversee access to the Internet, we urge you to adopt strong and enforceable open Internet rules that proactively protect Internet users from unfair practices, including the blockage of lawful traffic or discrimination among content providers by Internet Service Providers (ISPs). The rules must preserve the Internet as the open platform that it is today by recognizing our nation’s communications providers as common carriers. Without strong protections, the Internet could devolve into a closed platform in which those who pay the most can overwhelm other views and ideas.

We agree with your previous statements and those from President Obama that expressed similar concerns. ISPs will continue to explore ways to boost revenue by imposing discriminatory charges that will decrease the openness of the Internet. There is ample evidence that protecting the open Internet against such threats is critical for users and businesses alike. However, reports indicate that the current FCC proposal creates an Internet fast lane that would prioritize some Internet traffic and allow ISPs to discriminate against everyone else. The FCC cannot protect the open Internet by allowing discrimination.

We urge the FCC to use its clear authority under Title II of the Communications Act to reclassify the transmission component of broadband Internet access as a telecommunications service.  Recognizing our nation’s communications providers as common carriers under the law is common sense. Reclassification would also complement the Commission’s efforts to promote innovation, competition and investment in universally available, reliable and affordable broadband infrastructure.

Over one million people have already gone on the record in support of reclassification.  We urge the FCC to consider this support for strong, enforceable open Internet rules as it moves forward with the rulemaking process.

Sincerely,

 

CC:      Mignon Clyburn, Commissioner, Federal Communications Commission

Jessica Rosenworcel, Commissioner, Federal Communications Commission

Ajit Pai, Commissioner, Federal Communications Commission

Michael O’Reilly, Commissioner, Federal Communications Commission

  • Subscribe to the NH Labor News via Email

    Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 12,410 other subscribers

  • Advertisement

  • Advertisement