February 26, 2014
As the FCC passes historic rules to protect the Internet from telecom giants like Comcast, Verizon and AT&T, the nonprofit groups who organized millions of Americans to engage on this issue issued the following statements.
Center for Media Justice, home of the Media Action Grassroots Network
“The passage of strong Internet rules represent a major milestone in our work for civil and human rights,” said Steven Renderos of the Media Action Grassroots Network. “Our members rely on an Internet free of discrimination to mobilize a powerful public voice against police brutality and deportations, and for health care, housing and worker rights. We have taken to the streets time and again to show that our lives depend on a free and open Internet. Across the country, we are celebrating this historic moment.”
Color of Change
“Today marks a civil rights victory, one that many predicted wasn’t possible because the influence of telecom money was too strong for us and our allies to compete against. What they underestimated was the power of everyday people using their voices strategically, empowered by the open Internet. Today is an important day but we have more work to do, we urge members of Congress to show they are on the side of communities, and not corporations, by supporting the FCC’s decision to implement the strongest net neutrality rules possible.” Rashad Robinson, Executive Director.
“The Open Internet is the free speech issue of the digital age – our society thrives when individuals can speak up and speak out, without fear of ISP censorship. This is an epochal victory for free expression and self governance. Four million Americans from all walks of life made clear that there is no compromising online freedom – and in so doing proved that people can triumph over the powerful,” said Todd O’Boyle, Program Director at Common Cause.
“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 at CREDO Mobile, adding, “Today’s vote marks the culmination of over a decade of organizing to protect the Internet from a corporate takeover.”
“Republicans in Congress will no doubt spend years trying to roll back the progress we made today,” Bond continued. “But today’s vote makes it clear that telecom giants and their allies in Congress should expect fierce and overwhelming resistance when they attack the open Internet.”
“The lessons from this hard-fought campaign are clear—people power can defeat corporate money when we all work together. Grassroots activism can help make good public policy a reality when government officials, like the FCC, are willing to listen,” says Rachel Colyer, Senior Campaign Director at Daily Kos.
“Independent media, free speech, and activism efforts are the underpinnings of our democracy and they rely on an open internet. The internet is the new public commons– essential to every aspect of the future. Strong net neutrality rules protect everyone from the erosion of first amendment rights and we’ve proven people will stand up for those rights–they won’t be fooled by corporate double-speak.”
“Popular victories like today’s are so unusual that three Congressional committees are investigating how this happened. If the net neutrality effort had followed the usual playbook, if Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T had defeated the American people, nobody would be wondering why,” said David Segal, Executive Director of Demand Progress. “Despite the cable industry’s best efforts to undermine our cause, we secured an open Internet, free from gatekeepers and corporate monopolies. We thank the millions of Americans who spoke up and gave the FCC the courage to do the right thing. In a political system in which progress can seem nearly impossible, the victory for net neutrality is a reminder to us that when we organize and fight for what is just, good things can still happen.”
Electronic Frontier Foundation
“The Internet spoke, and the FCC listened. A neutral Internet is an essential component of the free speech landscape today, and we’ve been incredibly heartened to see the people of the Internet fight to defend it. The war is not yet won—there are still important unanswered questions about the new Open Internet rules—but as a reflection of the power of online grassroots activism, today’s once-unimaginable vote to reclassify represents a crucial victory. The message is clear to regulators, lawmakers and lobbyists: Dear government: we’re from the Internet, and we are here to help.” — Corynne McSherry, Intellectual Property Director, EFF
“Today is not only a political victory but a moral victory for the American people. Against all odds, millions of Americans of all faiths and backgrounds fought for our future — a future that preserves the Internet as a space where all our voices can be heard, regardless of income, race, religion, or status. A future where all children and families have the right to learn, connect, innovate, and organize online. Thank you to FCC Chairman, Commissioners, and staff who listened to the groundswell of millions in one of the greatest social justice victories of our time.” – Cheryl Leanza and Valarie Kaur, co-founders of Faithful Internet.
Fight for the Future
“No one expected a scrappy win over one of the most powerful lobbies in the world,” said Tiffiniy Cheng, co-founder of Fight for the Future, “But that’s because no one saw how millions of people could win by using the Internet to defend it.”
“David has never beat a Goliath this big before,” said Holmes Wilson, co-founder of Fight for the Future, “This is a historic moment not just for the Internet, but for everyone fighting the influence of big money in politics.”
“Today the FCC takes its biggest step ever to protect the public interest and preserve the Internet that we know and love,” said Candace Clement, Internet Campaign Director at Free Press. “It’s the kind of thing you don’t see in Washington very often: public policies that will actually protect the public interest. Today’s FCC vote seemed impossible just 12 months ago, but the united push by grassroots activists, organizations and businesses completely changed the game. We have taken down industry lies, mobilized millions of people to participate in the political process and pulled off countless rallies, stunts and protests across the country. This isn’t John Oliver’s victory or even Obama’s — this win, like the Internet itself, belongs to the people.”
Future of Music Coalition
“This is an incredible moment for the artists who fought to preserve an open and accessible Internet since before the term net neutrality was even coined,” said Casey Rae, CEO of Future of Music Coalition. “It’s truly remarkable to be on the verge of what some considered impossible: strong rules of the road under a sound but light-touch regulatory framework. Creators come from all political persuasions and backgrounds, and they embody the very spirit of what so many of us have been trying to achieve in this fight. Namely, the ability to compete on a level playing field without discrimination from just a few powerful ISPs.”
Institute for Local Self-Reliance
“Cable companies lost their bet that millions spent on lobbying to stifle competition was a wiser investment than extending high-quality Internet to our nation’s entrepreneurs, students and rural families,” said Christopher Mitchell, Director of Community Broadband Networks at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. “Preventing big Internet Service Providers from unfairly discriminating against content online is a victory, but allowing communities to be the owners and stewards of their own broadband networks is a watershed moment that will serve as a check against the worst abuses of the cable monopoly for decades to come.”
Media Mobilizing Project
“We live in the shadow of the Comcast tower, here in Philadelphia. But we are also the poorest big city in the United States. That’s why today is such an incredible victory – because good jobs, strong schools, and lives of dignity depend on access to a free and open Internet,” said Hannah Sassaman, policy director at Media Mobilizing Project. “The movement that won today – and the leaders at the FCC who listened to them – have so much to celebrate. And tomorrow, millions of us will keep fighting – in Congress, at the FCC, and in our hometowns – for the affordable, reliable, universal communications access that is every person’s human right.”
MoveOn.org Civic Action
“This is an unequivocal victory for the millions of Americans who came together to show that people power can trump the power of corporate giants like Comcast and Verizon. The plan released today is real Net Neutrality—by classifying the Internet as a public good using Title II, the FCC is using the simplest, most legally sound framework for protecting Internet users everywhere and maintaining the web as an equal playing field for all,” said Anna Galland, Executive Director, Moveon.org Civic Action.
“The American people came to the table in ways we haven’t seen before on a fundamental issue that matters to each of our lives, our economy, and our democracy. Grassroots groups and activists fought tirelessly for their right to be heard, and we prevailed despite the best efforts of corporate media lobbyists.”
“Today, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission voted to adopt meaningful net neutrality rules grounded in real authority. And while we have yet to see final language, by all accounts, these rules will be the strongest that Internet users in this country have ever enjoyed. A year ago, we feared losing the core ethos of the Internet as an engine of innovation, opportunity, and learning. Now, the future is much brighter because millions of people stood together as citizens of the Web to demand those strong protections. This not only marks an important victory for the open Web in the U.S., it will also have long-lasting global implications on the way we access, use and share information. We’ll have more to say as the final language becomes public and we can analyze the results of today’s decision.”
National Hispanic Media Coalition
“This is a historic day. As people of color we have come to rely on the open Internet to educate ourselves, organize for social change, engage in the political process and push back against a history of discrimination and exclusion in traditional media. I applaud the FCC majority for sifting through the nonsense arguments of a few Internet service providers and their massive team of lobbyists, and siding with the American people for a truly open Internet,” said Jessica Gonzalez, Executive Vice President and General Counsel of NHMC.
“Today, the FCC embraced the authority given to it by Congress and firmly established itself as the ‘cop on the beat’ in the broadband era. Beyond that, it has taken great care to prevent second class digital citizenship, and NHMC pledges to follow up every step of the way to ensure that this decision leads to unbridled, affordable and universal broadband access,” added NHMC’s Policy Director, Michael Scurato. “NHMC is especially pleased the rules apply equally to mobile broadband because people of color disproportionately rely on mobile devices as their primary Internet access points.”
Open Technology Institute
“As we celebrate today’s vote, it is exciting to also acknowledge the incredible work that brought us to this moment. A decade of groundwork gave way to an unprecedented, year-long campaign that has brought together grassroots and public interest advocates, companies large and small, and 4 million Americans. This campaign was bold and unflinching – a strategic tour de force from all involved. The resulting energy is palpable, and the Internet’s role as a tool for public policy making is undeniable. What some wondered was a unique outcome in the SOPA/PIPA debates can now be regarded as the beginning of a movement for an open and unencumbered Internet. Our work is not yet over – ensuring that we can harness and leverage this energy will be critical in protecting the FCC’s network neutrality rules and continuing to grow the movement going forward.” Sarah Morris, Senior Policy Counsel, New America’s Open Technology Institute
“It took an encampment outside the FCC, blocking Chairman Wheeler’s driveway, four million comments and lots more but people power overcame corporate power to save the Internet. As a result, the Internet will serve the public interest and not the corporate interests of those who merely connect us to the Internet. This success against the telecoms, one of the biggest spending lobby groups in Washington, DC, sends a message that people have power and we can determine our futures. This should encourage people to continue to build our power, work for greater Internet democracy and use our political muscle on other issues impacting people and planet,” said Kevin Zeese, co-director of Popular Resistance. “Next up is stopping Fast Track trade authority for the Trans-Pacific Partnership and other corporate trade agreements. This is another battle the people can win.”
Progressive Change Campaign Committee
“Protecting Net Neutrality through reclassification is the kind of big, bold idea that is hugely popular with Americans of all political stripes. Today’s vote appears to be the fruition of a decade-long fight by those of us who believe in preserving the Internet as a level playing field. This victory sends a message that big ideas are possible and worth fighting for, even if the battle field is uphill and the opponent is very powerful.” Adam Green, Progressive Change Campaign Committee co-founder
“Today marks an important victory for everyone but especially for communities of color who have used the internet as a tool make sure our voices are heard in media, culture, and to improve our quality of life. Millions of us mobilized and fought hard against corporate power. This victory sends an important message to the telecom industry that our voices and our political power will not be bought and sold to the highest bidder. We’ll continue to fight to protect the Internet, the single most important tool for uplifting the Latino community.” Arturo Carmona, Presente.org, Executive Director
“After an unprecedented outpouring of public support, today the FCC voted to enact the strongest net neutrality rules in history. By embracing its Title II authority and creating clear, bright-line rules against blocking and discrimination, Chairman Wheeler and the FCC have earned a reputation as defenders of an Open Internet. This day would not have happened without the support of the millions of Americans who commented with the FCC, called Congress, and wrote to the White House. This bipartisan wave of Open Internet supporters from across the country came together to make it clear to their government that it had a crucial role in protecting an Open Internet. After months and years of hard work and advocacy, today is a day to celebrate. Thank you, FCC, for standing up for consumers to achieve this historic victory for net neutrality. Your landmark work will be remembered by the American people.” Michael Weinberg, Vice President, Public Knowledge
The Harry Potter Alliance
“Thanks to the collective will and voices of millions of people, the FCC is compelled to preserve a free and open internet that will work for consumers, independent content creators, and, yes, even big corporations on the same level playing field. This is a victory for the people, by the people — including wizard people, and the Harry Potter Alliance is proud to have been a part of such a powerful and tenacious coalition of internet freedom fighters. We are committed to this issue for the long haul and we’re diligently working to build a grassroots popular culture front for media reform.” Matt Maggiacomo, Executive Director, The Harry Potter Alliance