Messages from Internet users to be beamed on Giant Jumbotron outside the FCC, in run-up to crucial Net Neutrality decision
February 18, 2015 – Internet users have a new way to ensure their voice is heard, in the run-up to the FCC’s crucial net neutrality decision next week. Internet freedom group OpenMedia, backed by a huge coalition including Daily Kos, Roots Action, The Nation, Tumblr, and others will park a giant Jumbotron opposite FCC headquarters. The Jumbotron will stream messages and images submitted by Internet users through an online tool going live today at StopTheSlowdown.net.
The campaign aims to pressure the FCC to prevent telecom giants like Comcast and Verizon from creating slow lanes on the Internet. In recent months, over 5.1 million people have spoken out to protest this slow lane plan. The FCC will not accept formal comments from the public in the remaining time leading up to their February 26 decision, so the giant Jumbotron will be the most direct way people can reach them.
“This FCC decision will determine the future of the Internet for all of us,” said OpenMedia campaign manager Josh Tabish. “We want to make clear where millions of Internet users stand, and that’s why we’re going to park a giant Jumbotron outside the FCC. This way, FCC chair Tom Wheeler won’t be able to ignore our voices in these crucial final days.”
Tabish continued: “Right now, Big Telecom’s lobbyists are swarming Capitol Hill to insert dangerous loopholes that could slow our favorite websites to a crawl. These lobbyists wield enormous influence - but we all know the FCC should listen to Internet users not lobbyists.”
The FCC is due to announce their decision next Thursday February 26. Draft rules outlined by FCC chair Tom Wheeler earlier this month received a cautious welcome from Internet activists. However the giant telecom conglomerates responded by threatening to sue and pushing for new slow lane loopholes in the FCC ruling and through Congress.
Citizens are already submitting messages, images, and memes through the new StopTheSlowdown.net tool. These messages will be displayed when the Jumbotron is parked outside FCC headquarters next Wednesday - where it will remain for the final day before the FCC announces its decision.
OpenMedia.org is an award-winning community-based organization that safeguards the possibilities of the open Internet. We work toward informed and participatory digital policy by engaging hundreds of thousands of people in protecting our online rights.
About OpenMedia’s slow lane campaign
OpenMedia’s campaign came against the backdrop of a crucial U.S. FCC hearing which could decide the future of net neutrality. Large telecom conglomerates are pushing the FCC to do away with net neutrality, a move that would open the door to an Internet slow lane and have major implications for Internet users everywhere.
To push back, OpenMedia joined with over 60 organizations from over 25 nations to launch Big Telecom -v- The World, a week of action aimed at sounding a loud global call in defence of net neutrality. Over 180,000 people from around the world have signed on to the campaign, making it OpenMedia’s most successful campaign launch of 2014. It was part of a wider effort that has seen over 5 million speak out to stop Big Telecom’s Internet slow lane.
Then, OpenMedia’s Josh Tabish travelled to Washington to meet with senior White House staff, as part of a delegation of civil society organizations and tech companies. Shortly afterward, President Obama issued a strong call to the FCC to create the “strongest possible” net neutrality rules.
The final FCC decision will be announced on Thursday February 26.