Make Them Hear You! Net Neutrality

Make Them Hear You! is a weekly feature on KGNU, produced by Chris Mohr, letting listeners know how they can have their voices heard on issues up before Congress. You can hear it Wednesday mornings at 8.20am during the Morning Magazine.

Today let’s talk about two urgent issues: net neutrality, but first the Senate tax bill slated for a vote as early as tomorrow.



The Joint Committee on Taxation, the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy and other analysts predicted that lower and middle-income Americans would be hit hard by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The new CBO report that just came out is even worse: By 2019, the CBO says Americans earning less than $30,000 a year would be worse off under the Senate bill. By 2021, Americans earning $40,000 or less would be net losers, and by 2027, most people earning less than $75,000 a year would be worse off. On the flip side, millionaires and those earning $100,000 to $500,000 would be big beneficiaries, according to the CBO’s calculations. Eliminating the Obamacare mandate will mean that 13 million Americans will no longer have health insurance. And now, to placate Republican deficit hawks, they are adding a provision to raise taxes if deficits exceed $1.5 trillion, which will add an even greater burden to the bottom 80%. The bill will be voted on as early as tomorrow. If you’re concerned about the 13 million people losing healthcare or the increased burdens on the working poor and middle class predicted by the CBO, you have today only to call your Senators and express your concerns.

Now let’s talk about net neutrality. Net neutrality is the right to go where you want and do what you want on the internet without your broadband provider getting in the way. It means your broadband provider can’t block websites, throttle services or charge you premiums if you want to reach certain online content. You don’t have to know technology to know that the big service providers have a long history of discriminating against companies and services they don’t like. In 2005, Comcast denied service to p2p customers. For three years, AT&T blocked Skype to throttle competition. In 2011, Metro PCS tried to block all streaming except YouTube. AT&T, Sprint and Verizon blocked Google Wallet. Verizon demanded that Google block tethering apps that would have saved consumers of Verizon phone services money. AT&T tried to restrict access to FaceTime. In 2013, Verizon said the only thing preventing them from giving preferential treatment to some internet companies was net neutrality rules.

Republican Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) is calling for bipartisan legislation on the net neutrality. Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google, alongside smaller firms and advocacy groups are trying to raise awareness to stop FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s (R) plan to hinder net neutrality provisions at the December 14 FCC meeting.
Over 18 million comments have been filed with the FCC—the vast majority of them opposing the Commission’s plan to roll back protections for net neutrality.

Jessica Rosenworcel, a member of the Federal Communications Commission, says it’s time for the public to “make a ruckus.” If you’re concerned about net neutrality, you can share your thoughts by going to the website GOFCCYOURSELF.COM, then Click the [+Express] option for Proceeding 17-108 (far right column under “Proceedings”) and leave your comment. And FYI, YOU are the filer.