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On January 14, a federal appeals court struck down regulations that prevented internet service providers from slowing down, blocking, or charging access fees for online content. This principle, called "net neutrality," kept the corporations that provide internet access -- including giants like Verizon, Time Warner Cable, Comcast, and AT&T -- from choosing what their customers can see and do online. Without it, the internet could soon look a lot more like cable TV, where content bundling, pricing tiers, and endless contract disputes impact what makes it to your screen.
This decision has big implications for anyone who uses the internet, but didn't get much airtime from the big three broadcast networks. And on April 23, when the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) proposed new rules that could allow internet providers to create "fast lanes" for preferred content, coverage was similarly slim.
On May 15, the FCC voted to accept the proposal, which entered a four-month public comment period.
The FCC can still act to protect the open and equal internet we have today, but it needs to hear from consumers now. Sign our letter asking ABC, CBS, and NBC to make sure the public knows that it's time to weigh in on net neutrality.
Photo: "Cables" by Bruno Cordioli is licensed under CC BY 2.0 / Modified
When the D.C. Court of Appeals struck down federal net neutrality regulations, it opened the door for internet service providers to treat content unequally. Now, the Federal Communications Commission is proposing rules that could allow "fast lanes" for preferred traffic, and the public has four months to comment.
The implications for consumers are far-reaching, but so far, none of your networks have given them much airtime. You should reconsider.
The future of the internet is at a critical crossroads. If the FCC reclassifies the internet as a "telecommunications service," it could still protect net neutrality, but it would take enormous political pressure from consumers to change the agency's course.
The public needs to know what's going on -- and that they can rely on you to report it. Your parent corporations all have vested interests in striking down net neutrality laws and promoting their own content at the expense of their competitors. By expanding your coverage, you can prove that financial concerns aren't dictating what goes on in the newsroom.
We need to have a national conversation about what the internet will become, and your networks have a special capacity to begin it. Please do more to cover the threat to net neutrality.