How We Won on Net Neutrality
By Ray Morris
We won something big last week and we want to make sure you know just how important it was. For over a decade, CREDO fought ferociously to protect Net Neutrality. Last week a federal court handed us a huge and game-changing win for the future of an open and equal internet when it rejected the lawsuit to overturn the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) historic Net Neutrality rules.
For all of us who are members of CREDO, this was a special fight. As a telecom that fights for social justice – and as a progressive advocacy group that organizes on the internet – the battle for Net Neutrality was a personal one.
More than a million dollars in donations, and fierce grassroots advocacy by CREDO members, played a major role in pushing the FCC to ban content discrimination on the internet and pass the strongest possible Net Neutrality rules in early 2015. These rules were immediately challenged in court. CREDO, and some of our allies – including Free Press, Demand Progress, ColorOfChange and Fight for the Future – defended the Net Neutrality rules from this assault in federal court by filing as intervenors in the case on behalf of the FCC. Now the Federal Appeals Court – which had ruled against an earlier set of weaker Net Neutrality rules – upheld the FCC’s decision.
This has been a long fight for us, going all the way back to when George W. Bush deregulated broadband and opened the door for big corporations to discriminate on the internet. We had to bring the fight to Democrats and Republicans alike. There was an enormous amount of money spent lobbying against us.
But while their side had a lot of money and lobbyists, our side had millions of grassroots activists who were willing to speak out again-and-again for an open and equal internet.
We could not have won this fight without the leadership of a new generation of civil rights leaders who put Net Neutrality at the heart of their equality agenda. ColorOfChange, a group CREDO has long funded, is a powerful voice for protecting civil rights online. Their advocacy, and that of groups like the Center for Media Justice, the Media Action Grassroots Network, and the National Hispanic Media Coalition, was crucial to pressuring President Obama, his FCC, and Democrats who in the past have sided with corporate lobbyists, to support the strongest possible Net Neutrality rules.
We’re proud of the part we’ve played in this victory. We also know from experience that our victories are rarely permanent. In fact, the corporations who sued to invalidate the rules are no doubt planning to appeal to the Supreme Court. We will have to defend these rules again in the future, and with your help we will continue the fight to protect the internet from corporate control.
Thank you for playing a part in this historic victory for a free and open internet.Φ
Ray Morris is the CEO of CREDO. He has more than 25 years of executive experience in rapidly changing, highly competitive environments. He has worked in strategic product development and management, software engineering, technology innovation, business operations, marketing, sales and executive team leadership, leading senior-level teams in communications, hosting, marketing services and Internet commerce.