It’s Friday. The FCC just announced that the repeal of net neutrality will officially go into effect in one month unless Congress stops it. The Senate will vote on Wednesday. We have a job to do.
Okay everyone, we’ve confirmed that the Senate vote on the FCC’s repeal of net neutrality will be THIS WEDNESDAY, May 16th. The vote is going to be a nail biter. Senators Lisa Murkowski and John Kennedy remain undecided, and Senators Heller, Hatch, Lee, Rubio, Graham, and Portman are considered possible yes votes, so if you know anyone in Alaska, Louisiana, Utah, Nevada, Florida, South Carolina, or Ohio, tell them to contact their lawmakers ASAP.
Yesterday, Ajit Pai announced that net neutrality rules will officially end around June 11th, unless Congress votes to block the repeal using the Congressional Review Act (CRA.)
There has been much confusion about exactly when the FCC’s new rules, which allow companies like AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon to block websites, charge access fees for online content, and throttle apps and services, go into effect. The FCC’s announcement today ends the confusion, but not the fight.
The Senate is expected to vote early next week on a resolution to overrule the FCC and restore net neutrality. Major websites and apps like Tumblr, Etsy, Reddit, Tinder, GitHub, Imgur, Pornhub, BoingBoing, Private Internet Access, Bittorrent, and OK Cupid are on Red Alert helping drive emails and calls to lawmakers ahead of the vote, and Internet users have been contacting Congress in droves.
Important: when the FCC repeal goes into effect on June 11th, “the Internet as we know it” will not suddenly die. Nothing will happen right away. Shills for big telecom companies will immediately start saying “See? The sky didn’t fall, guess we never needed net neutrality in the first place.”
The big ISPs aren’t going to immediately start blocking websites or rolling out harmful paid prioritization scams. Not while Congress and the courts are still deliberating. The Internet’s death will be slow. You probably won’t even notice it happening at first. That’s what makes it so sinister. But over time, there will be less awesome startups. Less choice and diversity of opinion online, more centralization, less awesome.
If we win this Senate vote, we’ll take the CRA fight to the House. It’s likely that that fight will carry on past June 11th, meaning that there will be a period where there will be no net neutrality rules in place. During that time, we’re going to need to really lay on the pressure. Every single day will be another day that the Internet is slowly dying, and we’ll need to shine a huge spotlight on every lawmaker letting it die by not supporting the CRA.
So, this news from the FCC is a huge deal. No, it doesn’t mean the Internet will die on June 11th, and no, the fight won’t end then either. Everyone needs to be paying attention, educating themselves and others, and speaking out. This is the moment to fight!