Canadian group's pivotal role in Historic Win for Internet
Canadian group plays pivotal role in Historic Win for Internet, as U.S. FCC announces strong new rules to save Net Neutrality
Year-long campaign ends in victory, after massive global coalition unites to stop telecom conglomerates’ plan to force millions of websites into an Internet slow lane
February 26, 2015 – The U.S. Federal Communications Commission has just announced strong new Net Neutrality rules. Experts say the new rules will entrench net neutrality and prevent telecom conglomerates from creating ‘slow lanes’ on the Internet.
The rules came after a massive, year-long grassroots campaign involving over 5 million people from across Canada, the U.S. and the globe. The campaign was organized by an inspiring coalition of open Internet groups, grassroots groups, civil rights organizations and web companies.
Vancouver-based Internet freedom organization OpenMedia, which yesterday parked a giant Jumbotron opposite the FCC to stream citizen comments, is hailing the FCC’s announcement as a historic victory for Internet users everywhere that will have positive implications for Canadians. The group helped spearhead international efforts to defend net neutrality.
“This is a historic victory for the Internet and for Internet users everywhere,” said Josh Tabish, campaign manager for OpenMedia. “Let’s be clear about one thing: the telecom companies were looking for the legal tools to squeeze every last cent out of every last Internet user. But today, they lost those tools. This is because millions of Internet users, hundreds of tech companies, and dozens of public interest groups stayed vigilant for over a year.”
Tabish continued: “The little guy has won. This shows what’s possible when people come together and stand up against entrenched, powerful interests. The telecom lobby wields enormous influence in Washington which, for years, they’ve used to rig the system to keep prices high and to crush alternatives. But millions of us pulled together and proved that when the Internet stands united there’s nothing we cannot achieve.”
This morning’s order reclassifies U.S. Internet providers as common carriers, regulating them under Title II of the Communications Act - a key demand of the pro-Internet movement. It’s a huge step forward from nine months ago, when the FCC published an initial proposal that would have allowed slow lanes. Over 5 million people took part in the campaign, which saw more official comments submitted to the FCC than on any other docket.
Nearly 35,000 people used OpenMedia’s online tool at StopTheSlowdown.net to submit images, messages, videos, and memes which were displayed outside the FCC on a giant Jumbotron yesterday. It was all part of a wider campaign described by The New York Times as “the longest, most sustained campaign of Internet activism in history”.
OpenMedia is now inviting people to submit messages to celebrate today’s landmark victory at https://StopTheSlowdown.net
OpenMedia.org is an award-winning community-based organization that safeguards the possibilities of the open Internet. We work toward informed and participatory digital policy by engaging hundreds of thousands of people in protecting our online rights.
About OpenMedia’s Internet slow lane campaign
OpenMedia’s campaign came against the backdrop of a crucial U.S. FCC hearing which could decide the future of net neutrality. Large telecom conglomerates are pushing the FCC to do away with net neutrality, a move that would open the door to an Internet slow lane and have major implications for Internet users everywhere.
To push back, OpenMedia joined with over 60 organizations from over 25 nations to launch a campaign at www.StopTheSlowDown.net including aa week of action aimed at sounding a loud global call in defense of net neutrality. Over 5 million people from around the world have spoken out as part of this and wider efforts aimed at encouraging the FCC not to allow Internet slow lanes.
OpenMedia also launched a Letter-to-Editor tool that saw over 60 letters published in major newspapers across the U.S.
OpenMedia’s campaign manager Josh Tabish also travelled to Washington D.C. to meet with senior White House advisers, as part of a delegation of civil society organizations and tech companies. Shortly afterward, President Obama issued a strong call to the FCC to create the “strongest possible” net neutrality rules.