Press Releases

Following court ruling, Demand Progress renews calls for all 2020 presidential candidates to pledge to restore net neutrality

October 1, 2019
Contact: Mark Stanley, [email protected], 202.681.7582

Today, the US Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in Mozilla vs. FCC ruled that the FCC did not have the authority to prevent states from enforcing their own net neutrality laws. The court also remanded the 2017 so-called “Restoring Internet Freedom” order back to the FCC for not adequately examining the impact on public safety as well as the regulation of pole attachments and the Lifeline Program.

However, the court did not object to the FCC’s 2017 classification of broadband as a Title I information service, as opposed to a Title II service. Title II classification is critical to FCC’s ability to meaningfully enforce strong net neutrality protections.

Without such protections in place, ISPs are free to warp content flows so as to promote user access to content that benefits the companies’ bottom lines—content they own or which pays for promotion, or aligns with the companies’ political proclivities—while downgrading access to other content. An absence of net neutrality rules harms startups and small businesses, non-profits, entities seeking to engage in unfettered political speech, and anybody who is unwilling or unable to pay fees to ISPs. It is likely to further marginalize the voices of historically disenfranchised communities.

In light of this decision, Demand Progress is renewing calls for all 2020 presidential candidates to take a pledge to restore net neutrality and reject contributions from phone and cable company executives, lobbyists, and PACs. The pledge also highlights the need for the FCC to prohibit ISPs from using harmful zero-rating practices and interconnection agreements to circumvent net neutrality. It has been backed by nearly 20 netroots groups, and over 160,000 people have signed on to ask that presidential candidates take the pledge. It can be found at this link, and below:

Demand Progress also calls on the Senate to pass the Save the Internet Act, which would restore strong Title II net neutrality protections. The Save the Internet Act passed the House earlier this year, and a similar measure to restore Title II net neutrality protections passed the Senate in the form of a Congressional Review Act resolution with bipartisan support in 2018.

“Today’s decision makes it all the more imperative presidential candidates make a specific commitment by taking this pledge to restore Title II-based net neutrality protections,” said Mark Stanley, Communications Director for Demand Progress. “Restoring strong net neutrality protections is vital for free expression, rural broadband and the ability of Americans to start and run small businesses. We ask all candidates to reject the corrosive influence of the telecom industry and take this pledge to restore the common-sense net neutrality protections supported by the overwhelming majority of the public.”

Net Neutrality Pledge

We ask all 2020 presidential candidates to publicly call for the restoration of strong open internet protections; reject contributions from phone and cable company executives, lobbyists, and PACs; and pledge to appoint FCC Commissioners who will:

-Restore all of the Title II-based net neutrality rules, enforcement authority, broadband competition and consumer protections the FCC eliminated in 2017

-Enforce a ban on circumventing net neutrality at the point where data enters ISPs’ networks

-Ban harmful forms of ‘zero-rating’ that advantage some apps over others or require apps to pay fees

Contributions under $200 do not require employer information when reported to the FEC — the pledge is not intended to refer to such donations because candidates and campaigns may not have sufficient information to know the contributors’ ties to the industries.

Endorsed by:

  • Demand Progress
  • Progress America
  • Daily Kos
  • California Clean Money Action Fund
  • Climate Hawks Vote
  • Color of Change
  • Common Cause
  • Democracy for America
  • Friends of the Earth Action
  • People For the American Way
  • The Other 98%
  • Presente Action
  • Fight for the Future
  • Free Press Action Fund
  • People Demanding Action
  • Social Security Works