Posted in News | by: Mohini Kundu

The Free Internet Is Being Repealed—But We’re One Vote Away From Stopping It

TL;DR: Net neutrality isn’t dead, and small businesses can play a big role in keeping it alive. Fight for the Future, a nonprofit dedicated to protecting the free internet, is collecting signatures from 10,000 small businesses to petition lawmakers to pass a Congressional Review Act and overturn the net neutrality repeal. They only need one more vote. Sign the letter before May 2 to help them get there.

You may have heard that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to repeal net neutrality back in December of last year. But you may not know that we’re just one congressional vote away from keeping it alive.

Yep, just one vote. And thousands of small businesses are mobilizing to make it happen.

An important player in the mission to keep net neutrality alive is an organization called Fight for the Future. The nonprofit wants to harness the power of small businesses during National Small Business Week to get Congress to reverse the decision—all the businesses have to do is sign.

“Right now, the Senate is headed for a vote on a Congressional Review Act (CRA) to overturn the FCC’s repeal of net neutrality, but we still need at least one more Republican vote to win,” Josh Tabish, a fellow at Fight for the Future, explains. “We’ve seen that pressure from local businesses in lawmakers’ own districts is perhaps the single most effective strategy for convincing hard-to-get lawmakers to speak out for the open internet.”

Fight for the Future is rallying 10,000 small businesses to sign this letter to lawmakers asking them to support the CRA:

Dear Member of Congress,

We are companies who rely on the open Internet to grow our business and reach customers online. We are asking Congress to issue a “Resolution of Disapproval” to restore net neutrality and the other consumer protections that were lost when the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to repeal the 2015 Open Internet Order in December 2017.

Users and businesses need certainty that they will not be blocked, throttled or charged extra fees by Internet service providers. We cannot afford to be left unprotected while Congress deliberates.

We will accept nothing less than the protections embodied in the 2015 order. Please ensure the FCC keeps its tools to protect consumers and business like ours.

Thank you for considering our views.

Sincerely,

The undersigned.

Almost 6,000 small businesses have already signed the open letter. On Wednesday, May 2, Fight for the Future will help businesses deliver the letter to congressional offices across the country.

Small businesses aren’t the only ones assembling for the cause.

The nonprofit is also urging as many people as possible to contact their Senators showing support for net neutrality in their Battle for the Net campaign (they even track the number of phone calls per representative). Then, they plan to host an internet-wide day of action on July 12 to protest the repeal.

Although we’re still fighting for that one vote, polling shows an overwhelming amount of bipartisan support for net neutrality around the country. A recent survey from the University of Maryland found 82 percent of Republicans oppose the repeal. That’s almost 10 percent more Republican supporters than last year.

“We won’t agonize, we will organize,” Democratic Senator Ed Markey said when he introduced the CRA resolution. “The grassroots movement to reinstate net neutrality is growing by the day.”

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We’ve already shared why net neutrality is a serious necessity for small businesses. You can dive into the details, but what it comes down to is this: Net neutrality ensures the little guys have equal access to the glorious growth, marketing, and sales engine that is the internet.

The types of small businesses that could suffer without it ranges from authors to dog walkers to bowling alleys.

“This doesn’t just affect tech companies,” Tabish tells us. “Hardware stores and guitar shops do a ton of their business online, massage therapists book appointments through their websites, modern farming tools require connectivity. Killing net neutrality will be a tax on the entire economy.”

That’s why we can’t give up on net neutrality now. “Bureaucrats and lobbyists picked a fight with the internet and thousands of small businesses across the country,” Tabish says, “but by the time we’re done, they’re going to wish they hadn’t.”

Sign the letter to help save net neutrality, and check this map to see all the May 2 open letter delivery events happening at congressional offices across the country.

Photo credit: Creative Commons / DemocracyNow.org

About Mohini Kundu

Mohini Kundu is a news editor on the Gusto content team. She studied journalism at Northwestern University and started her career at The Huffington Post before embracing the #startuplife.