Net neutrality will soon be making headlines again. To learn about how potential developments can impact advocacy, read our primer below:
Net Neutrality is the principle that Internet service providers and governments regulating the Internet should treat all data on the Internet the same, not discriminating or charging differentially by user, content, website, platform, application, type of attached equipment, or mode of communication.
Why is net neutrality trending these days?
Net Neutrality is once again in the news because of Commissioner Ajit Pai’s appointment as the new Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman. Pai has served as a Republican FCC Commissioner since 2012 and has been a vocal opponent of current net neutrality rules. Given his appointment and the change in the FCC’s majority from Democrat to Republican, one can reasonably expect the Commission will move to swiftly overturn these existing regulations.
What are the potential advocacy opportunities for net neutrality in the near future?
Interest groups representing the public interest, the telecommunications industry, and Internet tech companies have spent years arguing before the FCC and Congress. With the new FCC leadership and the potential net neutrality rules reversal, these old arguments will likely be reignited. These constituencies, once again, will have the opportunity to express their views during the comment period that occurs when new regulations are introduced. Those favoring robust net neutrality rules may petition the FCC to protect the progress that has been made so far and preserve the rules as they are currently defined. Those opposed to the rules in their current form may see an opportunity to push for a lighter regulatory approach.
Additionally, Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune has commented on a possible legislative approach to resolve net neutrality. Groups on both sides of the issue should view this development as an opportunity to mobilize their respective bases to contact their elected officials and explain how net neutrality affects them.
Leveraging technology for net neutrality advocacy campaigns
Using technology to help scale your net neutrality advocacy efforts can significantly impact the chances of a successful outcome. Make sure that your technology platform, if you use one, has the ability deliver constituent comments to the FCC on a large scale quickly and seamlessly. Also position yourselves to pivot to Hill advocacy to apply pressure should a legislative approach materialize. Today’s successful campaigns blend social media advocacy and patch-through calling tools. To find out how we can help your organization, please click here.