Rapid Response

Congress's Actions This Fall Could Destroy the Internet as We Know It

Net neutrality might be dead by Thanksgiving.
November 2, 2017, 7:31pm
Illustration via Aaron Barksdale.

After deliberations in late October, Congress is poised to take action that will directly influence the future of the internet. The FCC is likely to announce a plan that would essentially kill net neutrality the day before Thanksgiving, with a final vote to go down some time in December of this year. Net neutrality is an essential consumer protection that ensures your experience online is protected from the interference of internet service providers (ISP) -- ie. Comcast, AT&T, Verizon or any other company you pay to be able to surf the web. According to TechCrunch, how you watch videos online, listen to music or download documents will change drastically if the move goes through.

Ending net neutrality has been a top target for the Trump administration's Federal Communications Committee chairman (and former telecom giant Verizon attorney) Ajit Pai. Back in the spring of 2017, Pai's FCC drafted the "Restoring Internet Freedom" proposal aimed at rolling back a 2015 Obama administration decision preserving net neutrality.

Proponents of net neutrality see it as a fundamental protection for individuals, businesses, and America's overall freedom to ensure the internet doesn't go down the road of cable television, thus no longer being the level playing field for communication, interaction and discovery.

What you can do:

According to a Mozilla survey, 76 percent of US internet users from all parties support net neutrality because it prevents ISPs from deciding how and what we can do online.
Advocacy group Fight for the Future wants supporters who want to prevent Congress from "gutting the rules that keep the web open, affordable, and awesome" to act now and call your members of Congress to oppose Pai's plans.

With turkey day just around the corner, the time for action is now.

And then some:

Finding Pai's intentions particularly unchill, fans of the legendary Vermont jam band Phish appear to be leading the opposition to rolling back net neutrality. They're featuring a splash page on their fan website which is driving up the most actions after Fight for the Future's flagship page.

The net neutrality-ready splash page on Phish.net

* Updated November 3, 2017 12:15 pm ET to reflect an editorial mistake that incorrectly stated that the FCC is likely to vote on net neutrality on November 22nd. The story has been updated to reflect that the FCC is expected to announce their plan to kill net neutrality the day before Thanksgiving, with a final vote likely to follow in December.