This Thursday is an important day for anyone interested in being heard about an upcoming FCC decision to preserve a democratic and open internet. Concerned citizens, activists and a coalition of advocacy organizations are gathering at San Francisco City Hall to hold a people’s hearing on the future of the Internet.
Just last week, President Obama made a bold statement marking a critical turning point in the fight for the open Internet — but the Net Neutrality debate is far from over. Millions of people have pushed the FCC to protect real Net Neutrality. With a continuance of the rules that give everyone equal access, the open Internet will continue to thrive as a space shared and shaped by its millions of users. Big technology and media companies cannot allow faster speeds or give preferential treatment to big corporations or anyone paying to “ride in an internet fast lane.”
The FCC will vote on December 11th how to refine existing laws and decide whether to designate the internet as a “common carrier” public utility that would satisfy concerns raised by earlier court rulings. The agency can preserve Net Neutrality only by reclassifying broadband as a telecommunications service under the law. You can find out the basics of the issues that need to be addressed created by the non-profit Save The Internet campaign of Free Press.
The Net Neutrality debate is moving fast on the heels of a record-breaking summer where millions of people spoke out against an FCC proposal that would permit large Internet providers to charge fees for access to parts of the Web. And by early next year, the FCC is slated to make a decision on a highly controversial merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable — a move that could lead to less consumer choice and less diversity online.
Organizations including Media Alliance, ColorOfChange.org, Common Cause, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Free Press, and the Media Action Grassroots Network (MAG-Net) are inviting the diverse communities of the Bay Area to speak out and join local leaders, policy experts, technologists, and elected officials to testify at City Hall about why the future of the Internet matters to us.
Participants will include former FCC Commissioner Michael Copps, Malkia Cyril of the Media Action Grassroots Network, local musician Jennifer Johns, Jay Nath of the Mayor’s Office of Civic Innovation, Corynne McSherry of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Ana Montes of the Utility Reform Network and Amy Sonnie of the Oakland Public Library.
What: Bay Area Speaks: A People’s Hearing on the Future of the Internet
When: Thurs., Nov. 20: Rally outside at 5:30 p.m.; the hearing starts at 7 p.m.
Where: San Francisco City Hall, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place
Who: We’re partnering with our allies at ColorOfChange.org, Common Cause, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Media Action Grassroots Network (MAG-Net) and the Media Alliance to host this event.
RSVP: Sign up here. This event is free and open to the public.
Before the hearing, we’ll rally outside City Hall and raise our cellphones, laptops and tablets with ProtestSign.org loaded.
If you live in the Bay Area, please sign up — and if you can’t make it, spread the word to your friends and neighbors. We need as many people as possible to push the FCC to do what it takes to protect our rights online.
Original photo by Flickr user Sergio Ruiz