Coalition of Rights Groups and Organizations Urge FCC to Restore Net Neutrality Rules

This week rights group Free Press led a coalition of organizations (including the ACLU, Avaaz, Common Cause, ColorOfChange, CREDO, DailyKos, Demand Progress, Fight for the Future, the Harry Potter Alliance, MoveOn, RootsAction and the Sierra Club's SierraRise community) that delivered a petition signed by one million people to the Federal Communications Commission urging the agency do whatever it has to do to restore Net Neutrality.

Earlier this month a Federal Appeals Court struck down part of the FCC's Open Internet Order, because of the way the agency worded its order. The court did say that the agency generally had authority to regulate ISPs…

The Free Press- led coalition also delivered a letter signed by more than 80 organizations echoing the need for the FCC to take swift action immediately. That letter can be read here.

Several leaders within this coalition also issued statements to go along with the petition and letter:

"Just two weeks after a federal court threw out the FCC’s Net Neutrality rules, we delivered petitions from more than 1 million people who support the freedom to connect and communicate online," said Free Press Internet Campaign Director Josh Levy. "It’s time for the agency to correct its past mistakes, reclassify broadband as a telecommunications service, and restore Net Neutrality for good. Net Neutrality is the reason all of these petitions even exist, and it's so important to protect everyone’s ability to say what they want and go where they want online without an Internet service provider interfering."

"The FCC has the power to defend our right to communicate online, and to protect the public from predatory business practices from giant ISPs determined to invent new ways to charge us even more for even less," said ColorOfChange Executive Director Rashad Robinson. "Chairman Wheeler must take action now to reverse a decade of failed policies built on industry giveaways, and reclassify broadband so corporate gatekeepers like Verizon and Comcast don't get to determine whose voices are heard and whose are silenced."

"Hundreds of thousands of people have spoken," said Common Cause Program Director Todd O’Boyle. "Enough with third ways and fourth ways. Enough with endless litigating. It’s time for action. It’s time for the FCC to protect consumers, innovation and free speech online by reclassifying broadband."

"The FCC effectively killed Net Neutrality back in 2010 when it issued rules that would clearly be overturned in court and now that day has finally come," CREDO Political Director Becky Bond added. "The FCC under Chairman Julius Genachowski lacked the political courage to stand up to Verizon and AT&T and pass strong Net Neutrality rules. But now there's a new chair, and Tom Wheeler has a chance to prove that the FCC is more than just another government agency wholly captured by the industry it regulates."

"If Internet service providers are free to discriminate against traffic, they will get to choose what we see and when," said Demand Progress Executive Director David Segal. "Big corporations will get the fast lanes while innovative startups will wither in obscurity. The dynamic environment that facilitates economic growth and social interaction will become a victim to entrenched corporate greed. We cannot stand idly by while the Internet is destroyed by powerful corporations that refuse to invest their massive profits into network capacity."

"The FCC should read the comments from the people who signed our petition," said RootsAction Campaign Coordinator David Swanson. "Americans passionately oppose what they widely view as a threat to censor the most democratic means of communication left to us. Other media have been largely monopolized for private profit at public expense, and at the expense of open communication. Protecting the Constitution of a government of the people requires protecting the Internet from a similar fate."

"An open Internet is essential for creative freedom and the free flow of ideas," PEN American Center Executive Director Suzanne Nossel said. "We cannot allow the gatekeepers of the net to selectively censor or promote information based on greed. History shows us that the most enduring and lasting literature — from prize-winning novels to political tracts — was not written by those who could afford to pay, but from those who dared to speak their minds."

"To violate Net Neutrality, broadband providers would need to monitor what people are doing online, making this a major privacy issue as well," said Gabe Rottman, legislative counsel and policy advisor of the ACLU. "The speed with which so many people signed the petition shows that this is something that Americans care about."

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