Fight for Net Neutrality

Correcting the record in California Net Neutrality battle: civil society takes a stand

September 30, 2020 — Access Now, Free Press, Public Knowledge, New America’s Open Technology Institute, and Mozilla Corporation filed an amicus brief supporting California’s robust Net Neutrality law, SB 822. The law reimposed many of the rules that used to exist under the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) 2015 Open Internet Order, but have since been eliminated.

The amicus brief argues that broadband providers and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce falsely claim that the FCC’s strong Net Neutrality rules negatively impacted industry investment, when, in fact, the rules led to an overall increase in broadband expenditures and deployment. It also asserts that, contrary to industry arguments, internet service providers (ISPs) have repeatedly engaged in behavior that violates and undermines Net Neutrality, further reinforcing the need for SB 822.

“When the FCC abdicated its authority over broadband and eliminated all but the barest of Net Neutrality protections in 2018, it left a vast regulatory vacuum,” said Eric Null, U.S. Policy Manager at Access Now. “California did the right thing by filling that gap to prevent ISPs from discriminating against particular content online, a practice that could turn the internet into another cable television service. After the U.S. Chamber of Commerce filed a misleading brief that butchers reality, we decided to correct the record.”

Net Neutrality rules are essential to ensure unfettered access to online content without undue corporate interference. Without them, freedom of speech and human agency are gravely compromised.