'Essential to Empowerment': Groups Urge Officials to Save Net Neutrality

A coalition of 171 progressive groups on Tuesday sent a letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Senate leaders urging them not to roll back the groundbreaking net neutrality protections enacted in 2015.

“Protecting net neutrality is crucial to ensuring that the internet remains a central driver of economic growth and opportunity, job creation, education, free expression, and civic organizing for everyone,” the groups write. “The continuation of net neutrality is essential to the continued growth of the country and to ensuring access to social, political, and economic empowerment for all.”

The letter was signed by advocacy groups across sectors, including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Greenpeace, MoveOn, United We Dream, Color of Change, PEN America, and dozens of community and social justice organizations.

In 2015, under then-chairman Tom Wheeler, the FCC passed a sweeping set of regulations known as the Open Internet Order that redefined the internet as a public utility and required Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to treat all content equally. But after Wheeler’s resignation at the end of President Barack Obama’s term, the FCC came under the control of Republican chairman Ajit Pai, who immediately launched a deregulatory attack on consumer protections and internet access. Pai has also signaled his intent to undo the Open Internet Order.