Author: Tim Karr, Free Press Action | Date: 10 June 2019
WASHINGTON — On Tuesday, the Voices for Internet Freedom coalition will call on the Senate to pass the Save the Internet Act, which would restore strong and enforceable Net Neutrality rules. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has held up the bill, which passed the House of Representatives in April, despite the overwhelming bipartisan support among voters for the Net Neutrality protections the legislation would reinstate.
This week, Democrats are expected to use Senate rules in an attempt to break the Republican logjam McConnell put in place and to allow the popular legislation to receive the floor vote it deserves. Democrats will strive to move the bill forward under the Senate’s “unanimous consent” provisions, asking why this bill does not have the support of their Republican colleagues when it has the backing of more than 80 percent of Republican voters.
The Save the Internet Act would restore the Federal Communications Commission’s strong 2015 Net Neutrality rules, and overturn the Trump administration’s decision to destroy those rules. It would restore the legal framework that prevents internet service providers like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon from blocking, throttling or charging websites and apps extra fees for priority delivery to their customers. That legal framework in Title II of the Communications Act is also essential for the FCC to promote broadband affordability, buildout, choice and broadband users’ privacy.
June 11 marks the first anniversary of the day the Net Neutrality repeal went into effect.
Voices for Internet Freedom is a coalition of racial-justice and media-equity groups including 18MillionRising.org, Color Of Change, Free Press Action, Media Justice and the National Hispanic Media Coalition. The coalition’s mission is to fight for the digital rights of communities of color.
Coalition members made the following statements:
Cayden Mak, Executive Director, 18MillionRising.org
“The fight for Net Neutrality is the battleground where the fate of our digital civil rights will be decided. One year ago, the Trump administration repealed Net Neutrality protections, defying the will of the overwhelming majority of Americans who support a free and open internet. In our diasporic communities, Asian Americans depend on an open internet to communicate with our loved ones, become entrepreneurs, tell our own stories and organize for a more just world. By passing the Save the Internet Act, the House has proven it represents the will of the people. It is time for the Senate to do the same and stand on the right side in our generation’s fight for our civil rights.”
Brandi Collins-Dexter, Senior Campaign Director, Color Of Change
“Net Neutrality is a defining civil-rights issue of the 21st century, most consequently for Black communities. The Trump administration’s repeal of Net Neutrality protections one year ago today put a significant roadblock on the path toward building a racially equitable society. Black people rely on an open internet, free of censorship, to build and promote our businesses or mobilize our communities to fight for justice. We commend House Democrats for passing the Save the Internet Act, and urge their counterparts in the Senate to force Republicans to choose between voting for Net Neutrality and respecting the will of a majority of Americans, or rejecting it in favor of campaign donations from ISPs. Democratic candidates who depend on Black voters must include Net Neutrality protections in their campaign agendas. This issue needs to be front and center.”
Carmen Scurato, Senior Policy Counsel, Free Press Action
“It’s been one year since the FCC repealed Net Neutrality protections. Access to an open internet is a critical racial-justice issue. People of color rely on Net Neutrality protections to tell our own stories, advocate for our communities and speak out against injustice. Without Net Neutrality, the nation’s largest internet service providers are free to block, slow down or throttle the kinds of speech that are essential to the fight for our digital civil rights. And without the legal framework the Trump administration wrongly abandoned, the FCC is powerless to promote more affordable broadband options for people of color and those most often disconnected from the internet. Senate leadership must stop standing in our way and pass the Save the Internet Act.”
Erin Shields, National Field Organizer, Media Justice
“A year after the deeply unpopular Net Neutrality repeal went into effect, communities of color and people living on low incomes remain unprotected and primed for exploitation by corporate overreach. The United States already consistently ranks as one of the most costly countries in the world to purchase internet and we can only expect those costs to increase as corporate internet service providers, feeling the coast is clear, begin introducing paid-prioritization schemes that leave our communities disconnected and throttled into silence. The majority leader must do his job and bring the Save the Internet Act to the floor of the Senate for a vote.”
Francella Ochillo, Vice President & General Counsel, National Hispanic Media Coalition
“A free and open internet means that Latino entrepreneurs can compete against corporations that have excluded them, students can access the educational resources they need to excel, and disenfranchised voices can have meaningful opportunities to participate in our democracy. It has been one year since the Net Neutrality repeal took effect, and we have yet to see how the FCC’s decision has improved access or opportunities for Latino communities.”