05 June 2016

NET NEUTRALITY IS UNDER ATTACK. & Internet service could get worse with these sneaky tricks by your ISP provider 5JUN16

THE big telecom companies, verizon, at&t, comcast and all the others were defeated
in the battle for Net Neutrality with the FCC's 26 FEB 16 vote to keep the internet free and open. Now these same companies are trying another tactic to control our access to the Net. Their zero-rating plans and data caps will cost you more and limit your access to a free and open internet. We all need to fight back. Just as millions of people, over 4 million, wrote the FCC demanding Net Neutrality be protected and guaranteed, we need the same kind of response to defeat the telecom companies again. Don't be tired of the fight. Democracy is not a spectator sport, and defending democracy isn't done just by voting. Just imagine how this years presidential election might turn out without net neutrality. We can win this fight too, see below for more information and click here or on a link below to send a message to the FCC demanding (you do have the right to demand) the FCC stop the telecoms and save Net Neutrality. From Demand Progress and +Daily Kos 


AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon and Comcast are trying to sneak past Net Neutrality rules. They're imposing bogus data caps (with throttling & fees if you hit the cap) and exempting some services from those caps... but not others. It's just as bad as the fast lanes we fought to stop.

Fight back! Choose your ISP and submit a complaint to the FCC! Your complaint will be filed and the FCC will follow up directly.

Sneak attack: data caps & zero rating

The same cable and phone companies that worked so hard to destroy Net Neutrality are now experimenting with new ways to get around the FCC’s rules. Here's the breakdown:

1. Comcast

The cable and media giant that dominates the fixed broadband market is coming up with inventive ways to favor its own content over competing streaming video apps by imposing data caps in select markets and exempting its own video app Stream TV from those caps. This is a textbook example of an ISP tilting the playing field in its own interest.
There is no legitimate, technical reason for these data caps. Comcast itself admitted in internal customer service guidelines that these caps aren’t about network congestion. Instead, it claims these data caps are about “fairness,” but the broadband industry continues to see higher revenues and profits with lower costs overall and there’s no argument that these caps are based on any “fair” costs that Internet usage causes. The real reason behind these caps is to protect Comcast’s monopoly over cable TV, making it more expensive for customers to “cut the cord” even if they want to choose other video options. And by exempting only its own online video application from the cap, Comcast gives Stream TV an advantage over all competing online video applications.

2. Verizon and AT&T

Both companies have sponsored data programs, creating a new toll for websites and applications who want to reach customers without impacting their data caps. This is a radical shift in Internet architecture and business models, letting ISPs seek payments for the first time from websites, app makers, and content providers that are not their customers. This creates huge barriers for start-ups and small players that can’t afford a toll. They no longer have a fair shot at reaching people online. Thus, Verizon’s and AT&T’s program create the same harms as “fast lanes” would have if they weren’t already banned. It also means ISPs could keep data caps low just to give sites a greater incentive to pay for an exemption.

3. T-Mobile

The Binge On program lets you watch all the streaming video you want, but there’s a catch. That unlimited streaming comes only from selected partners like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and others. While any video provider can enroll in the program, the technical requirements are substantial. What’s worse, to pull off the plan, T-Mobile is downgrading the quality of all videos. HTML5 HD videos hosted on independent websites suffer the most. On these sites, T-Mobile users will see the dreaded "buffering" icon, not the video they're looking for.

They are Team Cable.

Cable companies are famous for high prices and poor service. Several rank as the most hated companies in America. Now, they're attacking the Internet–their one competitor and our only refuge–with plans to charge websites arbitrary fees and slow (to a crawl) any sites that won't pay up. If they win, the Internet will never be the same.


We are Team Internet, and we support net neutrality.

We believe in the free and open Internet, with no arbitrary fees or slow lanes for sites that can't pay. All of the people, companies, and organizations below have taken a stand for "Title II reclassification," the only option that let the FCC stop Team Cable from breaking the key principles of the Internet we love. And that's what the FCC just voted for.

Together, we defeated Team Cable.

Cable companies lobbied so hard. But we, the public, sent the FCC a message so loud they couldn't ignore us. The FCC voted to preserve Net Neutrality, with strong Title II rules that prohibit ISPs like Comcast from slowing down and breaking the sites and apps you love.

But cable companies are strong in Congress.

Cable giants have been lobbying Congress for years. Now they want our Congress to destroy the net neutrality rules we fought for. Don't let them! Click on the faces below to tweet at each member of Congress. 

Choose your state:






Learn More

Want to understand net neutrality, and how it protects us from cable company misbehavior? Nobody explains it better than comedian John Oliver.

Extra Reading

Here are some excellent articles for additional depth. They cover the issue, its political history, the struggles we've overcome, and the fight ahead in Congress. 
HOW WE WON! Battle for the Net
A Timeline of Net Neutrality Public Knowledge
Keeping the Internet Open Union Square Ventures

Internet service could get worse with these sneaky tricks

Together we’ve fought hard to protect a free and open internet—and we’ve been winning in the net neutrality fight. 

Now, the same cable and phone companies who fought against net neutrality are inventing new ways to dodge the FCC’s rules. 

They are creating questionable ways to prioritize content which violate the principles of net neutrality. 

Here’s what’s happening: 

AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon and Comcast have created special “zero-rating” schemes that exempt certain kinds of content from a customer’s data plan. 

Telecom companies are advertising this service as a "free" or "special offer," but everything comes with a cost from your telecom company. 

With zero-rating schemes in place, ISPs are able to act as gatekeepers to the kind of content their customers consume. While they’re not blocking content outright, the ability to make some content free and some content costly gives ISPs the power to massively tilt the playing field to favor their own content or the content of sites and services who pay the ISPs to get the same kind of preferential treatment. 

Websites like Daily Kos would be more costly to access than a website like Fox News, which can afford to pay for priority service. This has profound impacts on democratic, political, and free speech. 

Zero rating also gives ISPs the power to pick winners or losers online – exactly the problem the net neutrality rules sought to prevent. And if that’s not bad enough, zero rating gives the ISPs an incentive to keep data caps low and data prices high.

Zero rating goes against net neutrality, and the FCC must stop this practice. 

Net Neutrality

This is net neutrality:

More than any other invention of our time, the Internet has unlocked possibilities we could just barely imagine a generation ago. And here's a big reason we've seen such incredible growth and innovation: Most Internet providers have treated Internet traffic equally. That's a principle known as "net neutrality" — and it says that an entrepreneur's fledgling company should have the same chance to succeed as established corporations, and that access to a high school student's blog shouldn't be unfairly slowed down to make way for advertisers with more money.

Good things happen when people stand up.

February 26, 2015: Today's FCC decision will protect innovation and create a level playing field for the next generation of entrepreneurs–and it wouldn't have happened without Americans like you. More than 4 million people wrote in to the FCC, overwhelmingly in support of a free and fair internet. Countless others spoke out on social media, petitioned their government, and stood up for what they believe. I ran for office because I believed that nothing can stand in the way of millions of voices calling for change. That's the backbone of our democracy–and you've proven that this timeless principle is alive and well in our digital age. So to all the people who participated in this conversation, I have a simple message: Thank you, Barack Obama
The FCC just voted in favor of a strong net neutrality rule to keep the Internet open and free. That happened because millions of Americans across the country didn't just care about this issue: You stood up and made your voices heard, whether by adding your names to petitions, submitting public comments, or talking with the people you know about why this matters. Read a special thank-you message from the President, then learn more about how we got to where we are today.

Read the Transcript

The path to a free and open internet:

OCT. 29
Then-Senator Barack Obama pledges support for net neutrality to protect a free and open Internet if elected President.
OCT. 29
“I am a strong supporter of net neutrality … What you’ve been seeing is some lobbying that says that the servers and the various portals through which you’re getting information over the Internet should be able to be gatekeepers and to charge different rates to different Web sites … And that I think destroys one of the best things about the Internet—which is that there is this incredible equality there." -Barack Obama
The FCC introduces strong net neutrality protections that said internet service providers could not block websites or impose limits on users. In December, the FCC would go on to pass a final version, adopting their first-ever rules to regulate Internet access.
Just weeks after the FCC adopted their rules, Verizon Communications filed a federal lawsuit that would eventually overturn the order.
JAN. 14
A Federal Appeals Court strikes down the FCC's 2010 rule.
JAN. 15
A user creates a petition on the White House's We the People platform, petitioning the Obama administration to "Restore Net Neutrality By Directing the FCC to Classify Internet Providers as 'Common Carriers'."The petition went on to be signed by 105,572 users.
FEB. 18
The White House responds to the petition, expressing continued support for a free and open internet, but making clear that it couldn't direct an independent agency's rulemaking.
MAY 16
The FCC Issues a notice of proposed rulemaking on internet regulatory structure, opening a period during which the public could submit comments on the rule.
AUG. 5
“I personally, the position of my administration, as well as a lot of the companies here, is that you don’t want to start getting a differentiation in how accessible the Internet is to different users. You want to leave it open so the next Google and the next Facebook can succeed.” -President Obama
SEP. 15
The FCC's comment period comes to a close. Nearly 4 million Americans filed public comments on net neutrality during that period — more than the FCC has received on any other issue they've handled.
NOV. 10
President Obama calls on the FCC to take up the strongest possible rules to protect net neutrality, the principle that says Internet service providers (ISPs) should treat all internet traffic equally.
FEB. 26
The FCC votes in favor of a strong net neutrality rule to keep the internet open and free.

November 2014
The President's message on net neutrality:

November 10, 2014
An open Internet is essential to the American economy, and increasingly to our very way of life. By lowering the cost of launching a new idea, igniting new political movements, and bringing communities closer together, it has been one of the most significant democratizing influences the world has ever known.
“Net neutrality” has been built into the fabric of the Internet since its creation — but it is also a principle that we cannot take for granted. We cannot allow Internet service providers (ISPs) to restrict the best access or to pick winners and losers in the online marketplace for services and ideas. That is why today, I am asking the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to answer the call of almost 4 million public comments, and implement the strongest possible rules to protect net neutrality.
When I was a candidate for this office, I made clear my commitment to a free and open Internet, and my commitment remains as strong as ever. Four years ago, the FCC tried to implement rules that would protect net neutrality with little to no impact on the telecommunications companies that make important investments in our economy. After the rules were challenged, the court reviewing the rules agreed with the FCC that net neutrality was essential for preserving an environment that encourages new investment in the network, new online services and content, and everything else that makes up the Internet as we now know it. Unfortunately, the court ultimately struck down the rules — not because it disagreed with the need to protect net neutrality, but because it believed the FCC had taken the wrong legal approach.
The FCC is an independent agency, and ultimately this decision is theirs alone. I believe the FCC should create a new set of rules protecting net neutrality and ensuring that neither the cable company nor the phone company will be able to act as a gatekeeper, restricting what you can do or see online. The rules I am asking for are simple, common-sense steps that reflect the Internet you and I use every day, and that some ISPs already observe. These bright-line rules include:
  • No blocking. If a consumer requests access to a website or service, and the content is legal, your ISP should not be permitted to block it. That way, every player — not just those commercially affiliated with an ISP — gets a fair shot at your business.
  • No throttling. Nor should ISPs be able to intentionally slow down some content or speed up others — through a process often called “throttling” — based on the type of service or your ISP’s preferences.
  • Increased transparency. The connection between consumers and ISPs — the so-called “last mile” — is not the only place some sites might get special treatment. So, I am also asking the FCC to make full use of the transparency authorities the court recently upheld, and if necessary to apply net neutrality rules to points of interconnection between the ISP and the rest of the Internet.
  • No paid prioritization. Simply put: No service should be stuck in a “slow lane” because it does not pay a fee. That kind of gatekeeping would undermine the level playing field essential to the Internet’s growth. So, as I have before, I am asking for an explicit ban on paid prioritization and any other restriction that has a similar effect.
If carefully designed, these rules should not create any undue burden for ISPs, and can have clear, monitored exceptions for reasonable network management and for specialized services such as dedicated, mission-critical networks serving a hospital. But combined, these rules mean everything for preserving the Internet’s openness.
The rules also have to reflect the way people use the Internet today, which increasingly means on a mobile device. I believe the FCC should make these rules fully applicable to mobile broadband as well, while recognizing the special challenges that come with managing wireless networks.
To be current, these rules must also build on the lessons of the past. For almost a century, our law has recognized that companies who connect you to the world have special obligations not to exploit the monopoly they enjoy over access in and out of your home or business. That is why a phone call from a customer of one phone company can reliably reach a customer of a different one, and why you will not be penalized solely for calling someone who is using another provider. It is common sense that the same philosophy should guide any service that is based on the transmission of information — whether a phone call, or a packet of data.
So the time has come for the FCC to recognize that broadband service is of the same importance and must carry the same obligations as so many of the other vital services do. To do that, I believe the FCC should reclassify consumer broadband service under Title II of the Telecommunications Act — while at the same time forbearing from rate regulation and other provisions less relevant to broadband services. This is a basic acknowledgment of the services ISPs provide to American homes and businesses, and the straightforward obligations necessary to ensure the network works for everyone — not just one or two companies.
Investment in wired and wireless networks has supported jobs and made America the center of a vibrant ecosystem of digital devices, apps, and platforms that fuel growth and expand opportunity. Importantly, network investment remained strong under the previous net neutrality regime, before it was struck down by the court; in fact, the court agreed that protecting net neutrality helps foster more investment and innovation. If the FCC appropriately forbears from the Title II regulations that are not needed to implement the principles above — principles that most ISPs have followed for years — it will help ensure new rules are consistent with incentives for further investment in the infrastructure of the Internet.
The Internet has been one of the greatest gifts our economy — and our society — has ever known. The FCC was chartered to promote competition, innovation, and investment in our networks. In service of that mission, there is no higher calling than protecting an open, accessible, and free Internet. I thank the Commissioners for having served this cause with distinction and integrity, and I respectfully ask them to adopt the policies I have outlined here, to preserve this technology’s promise for today, and future generations to come.