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Defend the Open Internet
When cash speaks louder than innovation the Internet ceases to be open.
This could happen. You can stop it.

I. The Internet of Today

The Internet of today is an open place where all bits are created equal. To Internet Service Providers (ISPs) there is no discrimination between my cat video and your email. No matter where the data originates or terminates, and no matter what that data is, it is all treated equally by FCC Regulations.

It is a place where the company that connects you to it has no influence on what you do with that connection. Here a start-up can take on the entrenched and win by just being better. Innovation rules all, and it flourishes.

II. The (possible) Internet of Tomorrow

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is considering removing Net Neutrality - the rules which prevent ISPs from "prioritizing" bits into "fast lanes" or "slow lanes" for almost any reason, like where those bits are going, or where they came from, or what those bits say or do. They have decided to give this new proposal the confusing name "Restoring Internet Freedom," when it is actually doing the opposite.

This could change the Internet you know. It could be a place where authors, artists, businesses - the creators of the Internet - would outshine others not solely for their brilliance but in addition to how much they could afford to pay to be served fast. Users, readers and customers - the consumers of the Internet - could face arbitrary upcharges for faster access to particular sites, services, or entire protocols. Imagine being forced to pay your ISP more for a secure connection to this website.

The Level Playing Field Will be Gone.

III. What you can do: make your voice heard!

1. Contact the FCC

The FCC is the body capable of making this change and until July 17, 2017, they're accepting public comment on the issue. Make your voice heard!

How to contact the FCC

Add your voice at Battle for the Net

OR...

Fill out the guided form at dearfcc.org

OR...

File your comment directly on fcc.gov: Docket 17-108: Restoring Internet Freedom


When contacting the FCC remember that being polite, honest, and respectful will be most effective. Don't be a troll.

Specific things the FCC might want your opinion on

1. Should Internet "fast lanes" be banned?

Refer to the scenario described above for details on how internet "fast lanes" could work.

2. Should broadband providers be classified as Title II Common Carriers?

Common carriers are companies that deliver goods to the public without discrimination. They are responsible for the loss of goods in transit, must be transparent about what they charge, and are regulated to stay fair. Examples of common carriers include public airlines, cab companies, and electric and water utilities. Title II is for telecommunications companies. Land-line phone companies are classified as common carriers under Title II, and thus they can't charge more for your call because of who you're calling or what phone you're using. The question here is whether broadband providers be classified the same way. SparkFun thinks this classification is necessary to keep things fair.

3. Should these same rules apply to wireless (mobile) providers?

Apply all of the above to your cell phone. If you have a smartphone with 3G or 4G coverage imagine the situations above applying to how you use that connection.

If you just don't know what to say

Not sure how to form your response, but generally in agreement with SparkFun's position? Here is a sample comment to get you started.

I writing to express my concern that allowing Internet service providers to create Internet "fast lanes" will undermine the openness of the Internet. Internet service providers should be classified as Title II Common Carriers so that they cannot discriminate or prioritize levels of service based on the content they're transmitting or where that content is going. This is how the Internet was founded and how it must remain.


Please do not allow Internet service providers to unfairly influence the FCC into creating an Internet that favors the wealthy and stifles innovation. Instead act in the best interests of the American public and preserve the open and neutral Internet.

While this alone is sufficient it will certainly help to share how this may affect you personally. Above all be polite and honest!

2. Contact your members of Congress

Your representatives in congress should always want to hear from you. Contact them to tell them you want to preserve Net Neutrality and keep the Internet open with legislation.

If you would like the FCC to seek opinion on this matter from the people in your state, contact your representatives and tell them! Their job is to use their influence to represent you, and not just by writing laws.

Let them know you care about this issue, and that you want to keep having an Internet where you choose what sites to visit and where your ISP only provides the means to get there regardless of their interests. If you are a business owner relying on Internet sales or referrals, let them know that you need an equal playing field where you are judged on the merits of your products and marketing rather than your ability to afford to pay the ISPs a premium so that customers can find you.

3. Stay informed and inform others

Think globally, act locally. Educate your friends, family, and neighbors about net neutrality, the open Internet, why it's important, how it's at risk, and what they can do about it.