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We Won on Net Neutrality! FCC Designates Internet as a Public Utility

February 26, 2015 in Blogs

By Steven Rosenfeld, AlterNet

Years of activism and mobilization overcome telecom monopolies.

The Federal Communications Commission made history today by legally reclassifying the Internet as a public utility.

Its action prohibits a shrinking number of companies providing the speediest service to create fast and slow lanes—in essence, having monopoly-like control over the growing online economy.

The FCC’s vote on “net neutrality” came after a years-long push by progressive organizers, who rallied online activists across the country, and a handful of content providers who said their growing businesses were at risk under the status quo.

“Big telecom just lost – and it lost because millions of grassroots activists spoke out for net neutrality,” said Becky Bond, Political Director and Vice President of CREDO Mobile, a phone company that has raised more than $78 million for progressive groups including the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, Electronic Frontier Foundation, and Color of Change. “Today’s vote marks the culmination of over a decade of organizing to protect the Internet from corporate takeover.”  

“Republicans in Congress will no doubt spend years trying to roll back the progress we made today,” she continued. “But today’s vote makes clear that telecom giants and their allies in Congress should expect fierce and overwhelming resistance when they attack the open Internet.”

The FCC’s vote is another progressive victory under the Obama administration, which, until recently, has underwhelmed activists on the left. It follows the White House veto of the Keystone XL pipeline, and executive orders to protect more than 4 million undocumented immigrants from deportation. In all those cases, Republicans in Congress have vowed to fight and reverse Obama’s actions.

The net neutrality fight is no different. In recent days on Capitol Hill, Republicans tried to intimidate the FCC from issuing the new net neutrality rules, accusing the FCC of every imaginable capitalist sin, and saying this fight will continue in court or would be reversed the next time the FCC has a majority of GOP appointees.

At a House hearing Wednesday, the FCC’s new rules were called “Obamacare for the Internet.” A parade of witnesses, mostly from the biggest …read more


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