Only about 20 percent of the world’s internet traffic courses through North America, but the U.S.’s policies on the internet have global implications. And Net Neutrality remains a fundamental tool to protect against network discrimination and tiered pricing.
That’s why this week 31 digital rights groups from some 21 countries on five continents urged the U.S. Federal Communications Commission to pass strong Net Neutrality rules that that would reclassify broadband providers under Title II of the Communications Act. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler gave encouraging signs that he intends to propose rules that would harness the full extent of the FCC’s authority on February 26, yet members of the U.S. Congress and some ISPs are already on the attack.
The full text of the letter reads:
Dear U.S. Federal Communications Commission,
We write to applaud your decision to reclassify broadband under Title II of the U.S. Communications Act, a move that would finally treat broadband providers as common carriers, and require them to treat all content, applications and services equally, without discrimination. This move — which follows years of intense debate in the U.S. and abroad — is a signal to the world that Net Neutrality is essential to the growth of the global Internet.
The open internet has fostered unprecedented creativity, innovation and access to knowledge and to other kinds of social, economic, cultural, and political opportunities across the globe. Today, this open internet is endangered by powerful service providers seeking to become gatekeepers who decide how users can access parts of the Internet.
As members of the Global Net Neutrality coalition, we have supported protections for internet users around the world — and we have seen remarkable progress from Brazil to the European Union and beyond. Yet we are still directly and indirectly impacted by U.S. internet policies, and for this reason the remarkable decision by the FCC can help advance protections for billions of internet users worldwide.
We are aware that Net Neutrality opponents, including some members of Congress and major Internet service providers, are mounting opposition in a last-ditch effort to kill the FCC’s rules. In the face of such threats, we, the undersigned, strongly voice our support for the FCC’s proposal to reclassify broadband under Title II of the U.S. Communications Act.
While we recognize that these rules — however strong — would be a necessary baseline for the future implementation of additional protections, and that we still await the full text of the rules, one thing is clear: securing Net Neutrality protections in the U.S. is a major step in the effort to foster an open internet around the world.
You can take action too. Sign our petition to urge the FCC to pass strong rules here.
photo credit: Surian Soosay