Liz McIntyre

@LizMcIntyre

Net Neutrality Supporters Are Winning*, Even Though They May Not Know It

It may be news to you, pro-net neutrality fans, but you’re winning. You’re beating FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and the big ISPs at their game. Really!

But there’s a twist. We should ALL toast an Internet victory — even the rollback supporters.

The FCC may have rolled back Title II Internet rules, but the principles of net neutrality will most likely be honored because of the overwhelming pressure on US government representatives and ISPs. So we all win. At least for the foreseeable future.

ISPs will be on their best behavior…or else

Big ISPs like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon dare not mess with net neutrality right now because they have gotten schooled in how upset consumers are with their now very-public shenanigans. This is thanks to activists who have spread the word about how these companies have tried to disadvantage consumers in the past. Here is a list of some ISP antics, courtesy of freepress.net.

What’s more, US Congressional representatives are “on notice.” Should the big ISPs revert to their bad behavior, Congress will be forced to take action if members want to keep their jobs. After all, surveys show that over 80% of US consumers want net neutrality. This includes Republicans. In fact, only 1 in 5 Republicans supported the rollback. (And Fight for the Future has been keeping everyone posted on Reps’ voting positions.)

To top this off, net neutrality rollback proponents are on record claiming that the FCC action is in our best interests. They believe the rollback will increase competition and foster free market controls (despite the current lack of competition). Should ISPs make them out to be fools, you can bet they’ll join the majority chorus of voices calling for fair Internet policies.

“I’m shocked — shocked! — that people are going to challenge this decision in court!” — Ajit Pai

Of course, threatened lawsuits will be very helpful in reining in the gatekeepers of Web access, too. ISPs wouldn’t want to get caught throttling competitor sites or startups while arguing in court that Title II rules are unnecessary.

It boils down to this: Most people want the same end result — a fair and open Internet. It’s just a matter of how we get there. So there is no wiggle room for ISPs. Lawmakers, citizens and grassroots organizations of all stripes are staying on top of Internet developments “like a duck on a bug.”

Rollback advocates win, too

Isn’t it great that pro-net neutrality activists and supporters are not alone in their victory? Rollback proponents are also winning because ISPs will behave themselves in this charged environment. I predict “rollbackers” will be able to boast how ISPs are generally behaving without having official government utility treatment. Of course net neutrality proponents will know that things would be very different without their efforts.

So we all are winning. Thanks to vocal US organizations like Fight for the Future, freepress, DemandProgress and EFF. We also owe thanks to EU and International pro-net-neutrality proponents like EDRi, StartPage.com, AccessNow and privacytools.io.

It’s time for all of us to take a bow over net neutrality while staying ever vigilant.

After note: I have seen so many net neutrality activists glum and claiming a loss, but we have not lost!

The net neutrality battle is NOT over unless you claim defeat and scuffle off depressed.

Please don’t play into the hands of the big ISPs. They want us to give up and think we’ve lost, even though we’ve won major victories. This standoff is one of them!

  • I’ve changed “have won” to “winning” in the title and elsewhere because it seems to have caused some confusion and consternation. Winning is a continuum. (Of course accepting defeat is a finality. Let’s not forget that!)

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