Keep the internet free and open

When you go online, you expect it to be just as easy to watch highlights from last night’s game as it is to keep up with the headlines or shop at your favorite shoe outlet. That’s because of something called net neutrality.

Net neutrality prevents internet service providers (ISPs) like Verizon and Comcast from dictating the kinds of content you're able to access online. Instead, ISPs have to treat all traffic sources equally. But the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is working to permanently get rid of net neutrality protections.

What Could The End Of Net Neutrality Mean For You?

Here’s an example of how the FCC’s new rules could affect you. Since Comcast and NBC are affiliated, Comcast would probably prefer to promote NBC's content over ABC's to its subscribers. Net neutrality used to prevent Comcast from being able to discriminate, and it had to display both NBC's and ABC's content evenly. Same speed, same quality, same access. With the FCC’s new rules, Comcast could decide to put ABC’s content in an internet “slow lane” for their subscribers.

So what, right? There are worse things than waiting for Scandal or Dancing With The Stars to buffer. It could be a lot worse for some people. In the worst-case scenario, some subscribers to companies like Verizon or Comcast may only be able to afford a plan where the content they have access to is pre-selected by their provider. Or maybe the plan gives access to your favorite news outlets, but provides high speed access to the news outlets they prefer.

In this new world, your ISP and the terms of your data contract could dictate what information you have access to, where you can shop online, and even whether or not you can afford to launch a new online business.

In our increasingly connected world, we need a free and open internet.

WHO WILL CHOOSE YOUR NEWS?: When cable networks can give preferential treatment to their own content, will we still be as likely to hear a range of voices?
Images: CNN, Fox, MSNBC, CBS
Net Neutrality Has Broad Support

Already, the attorneys general of more than 20 states have filed lawsuits to stop the Federal Communications Commission's decision to repeal net neutrality protections. Three governors have issued executive orders to try and block ISPs who don’t uphold net neutrality from doing business in their states. And our national network is supporting lawmakers in other states who have introduced legislation to do the same. We’re also focused on federal legislation that would restore net neutrality protections for all Americans.

None of this is going to be easy. The FCC is moving aggressively to change the rules of the road for internet access, and the country's largest communications companies from Comcast to Verizon to Cox and AT&T are gearing up to take advantage of these new rules, all of which will make it harder to restore things to the way they were.

Despite these challenges, a free and open internet is worth defending. Our staff will continue building public support and advocating in the halls of power to restore net neutrality protections for all. Are you with us?

Get Consumer Alerts

Sign up for our consumer alerts, and spread the word about net neutrality's repeal, unsafe products and other consumer risks to your friends, family and others.