Today the fight to protect the open Internet got a huge boost when President Obama issued a statement and video calling on the FCC to protect real net neutrality under the strongest authority available to it – Title II of the Communications Act.
We applaud the President’s strong stance on this issue, and urge the FCC to take action this year to protect the Internet and the millions of micro-businesses who depend on it to reach consumers.
This morning, the President said what the Etsy community has been saying for months: there should not be a two-tiered Internet, where big companies pay for fast lanes, leaving the rest of us in the slow lane. We want the Internet to continue to be a level playing field, where businesses succeed based on the value of their products, not the depths of their pockets.
Since last spring, we have been organizing to protect real net neutrality. We’ve submitted formal comments, met with Chairman Wheeler, and participated in the FCC roundtables. Over 30,000 members of the Etsy community contacted the FCC and Congress as part of the #InternetSlowDown. Our sellers even “crafted” comments to the FCC, urging them to protect the free and open Internet.
Tammy Durant from TwigAndPebbleJewelry reflects the feelings of many Etsy sellers in her public comments to the FCC: “Due to ongoing health issues for several years, I have been unable to work a regular, full-time paying job, and have been able to make a part-time income from my Etsy sales. If the Internet is restricted in any way that could limit the flow of customers able to shop on Etsy, this could greatly hinder not only myself, but thousands of other Etsy sellers as well as the buyers who would frequent our shops.”
Etsy CEO Chad Dickerson said in a statement: “I’m thrilled to see President Obama stand with Etsy and our sellers in calling for strong net neutrality rules under Title II. The President has proved that he truly is a champion of the Internet. I urge Chairman Wheeler to follow suit.”
Though FCC Chairman Wheeler has publicly stated that his goal is to protect the open Internet, he has so far been reluctant to embrace the approach that would put net neutrality rules on the firmest footing – reclassifying broadband under Title II of the Communications Act. Our fear has been that by relying on any authority except Title II, the Chairman risks having the rules overturned in court – as they were this January.
That’s why we’re thrilled to see President Obama embrace not only strong rules, but the most robust possible legal framework to support them. Though we haven’t won yet, the President’s statement brings us one step closer to protecting the open Internet once and for all.