Press Releases

Demand Progress Statement on the FCC Vote to Repeal Net Neutrality

December 13, 2017
Media contact: Mark Stanley, [email protected], 202.681.7582

The following statement can be attributed to Demand Progress Director of Communications Mark Stanley:

“It’s hard to imagine anything further from the administration’s promise to ‘drain the swamp’ than the push from FCC Chairman and former Verizon lawyer Ajit Pai to end net neutrality. Pai’s move to gut net neutrality at the behest of big telecom is breathtaking in its total disregard for the public. After millions of comments to the FCC and thousands of people taking to the streets to protest Pai’s plan last week, it couldn’t be more clear that Americans demand strong net neutrality protections.

“Yet Pai has proven hellbent on running roughshod over the ability of ordinary Americans to communicate and innovate freely, by pushing a policy that serves no one but the powerful telecom industry that once employed him. The FCC’s move to allow monopolistic internet providers to slow down and block content at their choosing will go down as a historically bad decision negatively impacting millions of Americans, Republicans and Democrats alike, who rely on the internet for work, education, news, entertainment, and so much more.

“Following the vote, the attention of activists including Demand Progress and our 2.5 million members will shift to Congress, where we will support efforts to use the Congressional Review Act to reverse the FCC’s disastrous order. While Pai and the FCC majority have shown they care more about the telecom lobby than the public, Congress will be more responsive to the people that put them in office.

“The latest polling shows that more than eight out of ten Americans—including three out of four Republicans—oppose the FCC’s net neutrality rollback. Those numbers are staggering, making the FCC’s order to repeal net neutrality one of the most unpopular policies to be enacted in recent years. And for good reason — no one, regardless of political affiliation, wants monopolistic telecoms like Comcast controlling what they see and do online. When legislation comes before Congress to reverse the FCC’s order, all members are going to be forced to decide whether they stand with the public, or with Comcast. With an eye toward midterms, they’d be smart to choose the former.”

The following can be attributed to Demand Progress technology fellow Pierce Stanley:

“Allowing Chairman Pai to move forward with his plan to repeal existing net neutrality protections leaves consumers and businesses without any protections against ISP interference. By shifting regulatory authority from the FCC to the FTC, Chairman Pai is completely abdicating his agency’s commitment to the public and showing he’s more interested in giving a gift to ISPs than securing net neutrality by law.

“The FTC is not capable of protecting net neutrality because its focus is more narrow than the FCC’s. The FTC’s focus on unfair practices and antitrust enforcement limits what it can do. As an adjudicative body, violations must be committed before the FTC acts, which leaves net neutrality in the hands of a toothless enforcer at best, and is an abdication of wholesale legal authority at worst.”

Demand Progress has been a leader in the fight for net neutrality, helping to secure protections in 2015 through organizing and grassroots mass mobilization. In recent months, Demand Progress—in collaboration with Free Press Action Fund, Fight for the Future, and more—has helped organize the massive July 12th Day of Action for net neutrality, generated millions of comments to the FCC, organized over 700 protests in all 50 states, and helped drive nearly one million calls to lawmakers in opposition to Pai’s plan through