Published February 2015

Public Knowledge has assembled this list to demonstrate what people are really saying about the Open Internet and the baseless attacks against net neutrality. We will continue to add to the list.

What People Are Really Saying About Tom Wheeler’s Plan to Protect the Open Internet

“The FCC is simply doing its job to protect Open Internet access for all Internet users and in a way that benefits the overall economy. We hope Congress can conduct oversight and consider new updates to the Telecom Act — without trying to block the FCC from following existing law and protecting the core principles upon which a vibrant Internet depends.”

Edward J. Black, President and CEO, Computer and Communications Industry Association (Feb. 23, 2015)

“We are the ‘small, independent businesses and entrepreneurs’ that Commissioner Pai reference[s], and we write to say unequivocally that [he] does not represent our views on net neutrality. Quite the opposite, entrepreneurs and startups throughout the country have consistently supported…strong net neutrality rules.

“The clear, resounding message from our community has been that Title II with appropriate forbearance is the only path the FCC can take to protect the open Internet. The threat of ISPs abusing their gatekeeper power to impose tolls and discriminate against competitive companies is the real threat to our future.”

Letter signed by 100+ startups: Engine, Automattic, Etsy, Imgur, Kickstarter, Tumblr, Yelp, Meetup, GitHub, Gravity, Mapbox, Rockstar Digital, Ramen, Makai Software (Feb. 18, 2015)

“My deal is that this Title II stuff regarding Net Neutrality is about basic fairness, about treating people like you’d like to be treated. Let’s keep the Internet the best level playing field we can.”

Craig Newmark, Founder, craigslist and (Feb. 18, 2015)

“I mean to be real clear, I mean [Title II] does not influence the way we invest. I mean we’re going to continue to invest in our networks and our platforms, both in Wireless and Wireline FiOS and where we need to. So nothing will influence that. [W]e were born out of a highly regulated company, so we know how this operates.”

Francis Shammo, Verizon EVP and CFO, UBS 42 Annual Global Media and Communications Conference Call (Dec. 9, 2014)

“Net Neutrality levels the playing field by giving [small- and medium-sized businesses] the Internet access they deserve, and that gives them the opportunity to dream, compete and succeed.”

Sharon Rowlands, CEO of ReachLocal (Feb. 18, 2015)

“Without an empowered enforcement agency like the FCC to protect that free and open nature, the Internet could fall victim to entrenched, monopolistic ISPs and gatekeeper companies… This threatens the very core of American freedom and values. [W]e value our users first and foremost, which is why we will work with other companies and organizations to support adoption of the strongest Net Neutrality principles to protect the American public.”

Yelp (Feb. 18, 2015)

“But, barring any surprises, Wheeler’s strong version of net neutrality will soon be the law of the land. And that is something that our democracy can be proud of.”

Tim Wu, Professor at Columbia Law School and author of “The Master Switch” (Feb. 5, 2015)

“Net neutrality is really, really important. Never before have you had something in the system that could throttle your app.”

Sir Tim Berners-Lee, Creator of the World Wide Web (Oct. 8, 2014)

“Twitter and its millions of users are counting on Washington to reaffirm net neutrality rules for their obvious and myriad benefits to the Internet ecosystem, to the economy, and to freedom of expression. For all these reasons, we strongly support the FCC taking action.”

Will Carty, Twitter Public Policy Manager (Feb. 23, 2015)

“The telecom giants may expect that the prospect of a drawn-out legal battle, along with the possibility of a Republican president after 2016, will force Wheeler to back down. He can’t, he shouldn’t, and he doesn’t have to. Wheeler has said that he intends to write neutrality rules that can survive a legal challenge. We have no doubt that the FCC will have another powerful interest group on its side: Silicon Valley’s technology firms, who consider net neutrality a matter of their long-term survival.”

San Francisco Chronicle (Feb. 8, 2015)

“We need an Internet that’s open and free for all, and we must ensure that all American businesses can remain competitive, both domestically and globally. Covering broadband under Title II may not be ideal, but it’s currently our best hope to ensure the Internet remains a place for innovation.”

Mac Clemmens, CEO of Digital Deployment (Feb. 4, 2015)

“As a group of local governments and small ISPs that have been working to expand the highest quality Internet access to our communities, we commend you for your efforts to improve Internet access across the country. We are committed to a free and open Internet without blocking, throttling, or discriminating by ISPs.”

Letter to FCC from Municipalities and Small ISP Partners (Feb. 19, 2015)

“Strong net neutrality protections are essential to the survival of Daily Kos and all independent media outlets. Without net neutrality, ISPs would be free to stifle or elevate voices based on their own corporate interests.”

Rachel Colyer, Daily Kos (Jan. 26, 2015)

“I congratulate Chairman Wheeler for his leadership in putting forth a proposal to establish net neutrality rules tailored for the 21st century. A free and open Internet is critical to fostering innovation and enabling continued investment in our nation’s broadband network. It must continue to be a level playing field where everyone has an equal opportunity to compete.”

Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) (Feb. 4, 2015)

“Sprint does not believe that a light touch application of Title II, including appropriate forbearance, would harm the continued investment in, and deployment of, mobile broadband services.”

Sprint (Jan. 15, 2015)

“There is nothing in [the FCC’s proposal] that gives us deep concern about our ability to continue executing our strategy.”

Mike Sievert, Chief Operating Officer, T-Mobile (Feb. 19, 2015)

“We strongly support the framework on net neutrality rules currently before the Federal Communications Commission, including the use of Title II to put the new rules on solid legal footing. We’re built on open source software, open data, and open standards, but all this work depends on an open Internet. We’ve built global infrastructure to serve beautiful maps insanely fast, but it only works if Internet users everywhere can reliably get to our servers.”

Eric Gundersen, CEO of Mapbox (Feb. 16, 2015)

“Wheeler was forced to reverse his course because of an explosion of the type of decentralized political power that even the most powerful Washington lobbies cannot beat. American citizens flooded the FCC with comments on their proposal. They overwhelmingly demanded real net neutrality rules. People sick of monopolistic telecommunications companies dictating their Internet spoke out, with passion and in unheard-of numbers. No issue before the FCC had ever topped 1.4 million comments. Net neutrality supporters submitted 4 million.”

Zephyr Teachout and Donny Shaw, The Daily Beast (Feb. 9, 2015)

“Is it truly necessary to have government-mandated rules to ensure net neutrality? Yes.”

Joe Nocera, New York Times (Feb. 6, 2015)

“A free, open, egalitarian Internet is in the interest not just of consumers, but of the national economy.”

Contra Costa Times (Feb. 8, 2015)

“The FCC and FTC have complementary roles in protecting the Open Internet. The FCC should prohibit payments for preferential access by reclassifying broadband and forbearing from unnecessary regulation under Title II of the Communications Act.”

Letter signed by 26 law professors supporting net neutrality (Jan. 29, 2015)

“Although important details remain to be seen, the new approach [Wheeler] has outlined — a stripped-down version of the strict utility-style regulation applied to local phone lines — seeks the right balance.”

Los Angeles Times (Feb. 16, 2015)

“[A] select few of the largest companies providing internet access are fighting this light touch approach, perpetuating falsehoods intended to scare free market proponents into opposing it. They have alleged that light-touch Open Internet policies are anti-free market. In doing so, they fail to acknowledge that a free market is not one in which a select few “too big to fail” service providers dictate terms to consumers, business, and content providers. Rather, a functioning, free market is a place where incumbents and new entrants, big businesses and start-ups, are able to aggressively compete for customers.”

Former Rep. Chip Pickering (Feb. 18, 2015)

“Title II classification would require Internet Service Providers like Time Warner and AT&T to treat all Web content equally, protecting us, the consumers, by restoring two-way communication over an internet free from discrimination and making way for universal and affordable access.

“The future of the internet is at a crossroads, and our voices, along with the voices of leadership, can ensure that the FCC takes the right path, and that Congress does not strip the Commission of its authority.”

DeAnne Cuellar, Out in SA (Feb. 16, 2015)

“We write to urge the Federal Communications Commission to guarantee Net Neutrality by reclassifying broadband under Title II of the Communications Act. Reclassification would provide the Commission with unequivocal legal authority to promulgate Open Internet rules for both mobile and wireline, while allowing exceptions for reasonable network management.”

Letter from Reps. Keith Ellison (D-MN) and Maxine Waters (D-CA) (Feb. 3, 2015)

“‘I haven’t met a school yet that doesn’t want an open Internet.  We don’t want them to have to pay more to have access.’”

Evan C. Marwell, CEO, EducationSuperHighway (Feb. 17, 2015)

“You just can’t take the Internet away from the people. The Internet doesn’t belong to ISPs, carriers, huge corporations with mega-lobbyists or the government. An integral part of our daily lives, the Internet belongs to the people. And Wheeler is going to make sure we can access it without delay, deviousness or discrimination.”

Heinan Landa, The Business Journals (Feb. 17, 2015)

“Title II provides [the FCC with] a solid basis to adopt prohibitions on blocking and unreasonable discrimination by ISPs. Opposition to Title II is largely political, not legal.”

Netflix, FCC Filing (July 2014)

“[The] FCC must adopt strong, legally sustainable rules that prevent paid prioritization and protect an open Internet for users. Using Title II authority… would establish the strong net neutrality protections Internet users require. [We] encourage the FCC to stand with the Internet’s vast community of users and move quickly to adopt strong net neutrality protections that ensure a free and open Internet.”

Internet Association, including Amazon, Facebook, Google and Netflix (Nov. 10, 2014)

“The Internet has produced some of history’s most innovative, agile and disruptive companies. Goliaths such as Apple, Google, Amazon, Netflix and Facebook — as well as myriad start-ups — have overhauled the economy and changed the way people lead their lives and conduct their business. But the Internet has long been in danger of being co-opted by its least competitive and innovative part: its service providers.”

USA Today (Feb. 9, 2015)

“A free, open, egalitarian Internet is in the interest not just of consumers but of the national economy.”

San Jose Mercury News (Feb. 6, 2015)

“Tell Congress that an open Internet is crucial. Remind the FCC it exists to serve the public interest, not the profits of a few private broadband companies.”

The Seattle Times (Feb. 8, 2015)

“Net Neutrality protects that and keeps it open for all, and this latest push is the best attempt to establish rules and preserve it.”

Ryan Abella, Daily Miner (Feb. 11, 2015)

“Throughout this debate, I have listened carefully to my constituents, small businesses, startups, schools and libraries. I held a field hearing at the California State Capitol to ensure that the FCC heard the voice of my district. The message that has come through loud and clear is that we cannot divide the Internet into a two-tiered system.”

Congresswoman Doris Matsui (CA-06) (Feb. 4, 2015)

“Today is an extraordinary day for Net Neutrality, and it’s an extraordinary day for our democracy. The FCC’s decision to preserve Net Neutrality is vital for our economy to flourish and it is also one of the most critical principles for our country – this ideal that everyone’s voice matters. That we can have equal access, whether you are marginalized, a minority, or small in economic power, you too can participate in a fair, open playing field where powerful economic forces cannot choke your voice or further marginalize your opinions.”

Senator Cory Booker, D-N.J. (Feb. 4, 2015)

“Instead of capitulating to scare tactics, we should celebrate Thursday’s [net neutrality] vote. Individual voices will prevail over Washington insiders. Truth and reason will prevail over misinformation and ideology. Best of all, the Internet will prevail as an engine of economic opportunity, the likes of which we have never seen before.”

Chad Dickerson, CEO Etsy (Feb. 23, 2015)

“Great online videogame experiences depend upon low-latency, high-bandwidth connections. We hope that the rule announced today by the FCC will promote continued development of fast online connections while protecting gamers from anti-competitive and discriminatory practices.”

Entertainment Software Association (Feb. 26, 2015)

“Startups have a lot of things to worry about (I would know: I run one). But worrying about paying an extra tax to ISPs just to make sure their product or site or app works right shouldn’t be one of them. Now, it won’t be. And that’s something we should all be grateful for.”

Seth Porges, Cloth for iOS co-creator (Feb. 26, 2015)

What Civic Groups Are Saying About Strong Net Neutrality Rules

“The open Internet is a critical battleground where Black communities can connect across geographic lines, fight media misrepresentation, and oppose the police violence we find in every city, in our own voices.”

Malkia Cyril, Executive Director at the Center for Media Justice (August 15, 2014)

“If we had the technology, if we had the internet during the movement, we could have done more, much more, to bring people together from all around the country, to organize and work together to build the beloved community. That is why it is so important for us to protect the internet.”

Rep. John Lewis, Civil Rights Icon (Jan. 30, 2015)

“Reclassification was a thing that should not be possible, and which therefore nobody but a handful of us believed could happen. It did not happen because some powerful person or special interest wanted it. It did not happen because John Oliver made a funny video. It happened because hundreds of lawyers, grassroots organizers, and policy advocates persuaded over 4 million people to stand up for their rights and demand that the government act to protect them from the unrestrained corporate power of broadband access providers. It shows — to everyone’s surprise — that government of the people, by the people and for the people has not perished from this Earth.”

Harold Feld, Senior Vice President of Public Knowledge (Feb. 25, 2015)

“The battle’s far from over, but this is a victory for consumers, for sure. The FCC chairman is right — the best way to ensure the Internet is open and competitive is to reclassify broadband as a common carrier under Title II. This would provide the strong consumer protections we need to keep companies like Comcast and Verizon from becoming all-powerful gatekeepers of the Internet. We’re especially pleased the proposed rules would cover wireless Internet providers… The fight over net neutrality has been waged for years, and we’ve made an enormous amount of progress in just the last few months.”

Ellen Bloom, senior director of federal policy for Consumers Union (Feb. 4, 2015)

“We write to you at a crucial moment for net neutrality, as we probably don’t have to remind you. We understand that your position can be thankless and that it is difficult to take a stand for what is right when there is so much pressure from powerful interests and their political allies. As musicians and composers, we want to thank you for moving forward with strong net neutrality rules. As so many creators have already noted, reclassification under Title II is the best way to ensure that the Internet remains open for us to build businesses, reach audiences and earn a living in what is a challenging marketplace for creative content.”

Letter to FCC signed by 50+ Future of Music Coalition artists (Feb. 23, 2015)

“Whitney Kimball Coe, program associate at the Center for Rural Strategies, says [net neutrality brings] hope the classification will lead to greater Internet service extended to small communities, similar to basic telephone service.”

Deborah Courson, Public News Service (Feb. 5, 2015)

“While the deal isn’t done, the conversation has been reframed in way that will preserve the principle of nondiscrimination that is the bedrock of the Internet that we all use. That’s certainly good for consumers, but it’s even better for our democracy.”

Chris Gates, President of the Sunlight Foundation (Feb. 13, 2015)

“Millions of media reformers just schooled Big Cable and Big Telecom in American history. As their forebears in the labor, civil rights, womens’ rights, disability rights, and LGBT rights know well: organized people-power wins the long game. And it wins big.”

Former FCC Commissioner and Common Cause Special Adviser Michael Copps (Feb. 23, 2015)

“Today NHMC congratulates Chairman Wheeler and the countless hardworking and discerning FCC officials and staff members that have filtered through ISP talking points to reach the truth: that strong open Internet protections under Title II are critical to protecting equality in the digital age.

“I am particularly pleased that the protections will apply to mobile broadband. Too many poor folks, Latinos and other people of color rely on mobile connections as their sole internet onramps. By extending protections to mobile connections, the FCC protects those folks as well as it can from becoming second-class digital citizens.”

Jessica Gonzalez, Executive Vice President and General Counsel, National Hispanic Media Coalition (Feb. 4, 2015)

“There’s no doubt that the cable and telecom monopolies and their hired guns will ramp up their lies in an attempt to thwart the FCC’s common-sense action. The FCC should ignore industry’s cynical efforts. The agency is not only doing what the law requires, but what the people need. Restoration of Title II is the only way to preserve Net Neutrality and protect everyone’s rights to access affordable, competitive and secure communications networks.”

Matt Wood, Free Press Policy Director (Feb. 4, 2015)

“The fact that the FCC has chosen to reclassify broadband as a telecommunications service is a true watershed moment. For a decade, musicians and independent labels have urged the Commission to do what it must to ensure that our creativity and expression isn’t disadvantaged based on the business or political preferences of just a few powerful ISPs. [This] sends a powerful signal to Internet gatekeepers that our voices matter.”

Casey Rae, CEO of The Future of Music Coalition (Feb. 4, 2015)

“The widespread availability of high quality and affordable broadband connections…is enabling new applications and services that are enhancing older American’s quality of life, including new methods of delivering healthcare and support for independent living. Policies to promote a vibrant and competitive Internet ecosystem are essential for the continuation of this success.”

AARP (July 15, 2015)

“I am very pleased that Chairman Wheeler’s outlined proposal matches the network neutrality principles ALA and nearly a dozen library and higher education groups called for last July.  America’s libraries collect, create and disseminate essential information to the public over the Internet, and enable our users to create and distribute their own digital content and applications. Network neutrality is essential to meeting our mission in serving America’s communities and preserving the Internet as a platform for free speech, innovation, research and learning for all.”

Courtney Young, President, American Library Association (Feb. 5, 2015)

“WGAW has been a strong supporter of the open Internet because writers recognize the importance of this platform for free speech, creativity, competition and diversity. It is a means of reaching an audience directly, free from the filters of the few large companies that control film and television. The open Internet has reduced market entry barriers, resulting in new competitors for writers’ ideas and content choices for consumers.”

Writers Guild of America, West (July 15, 2015)

“The Internet has become a vital tool for our democracy. Modern activists no longer rely just on physical protests; they mobilize and spread their message online, and must be able to do so without undue interference… It is crucial that the FCC move now to protect free speech online and Americans’ access to information or our online marketplace of ideas is going to become a much smaller and less interesting place.”

ACLU (May 14, 2014)

“America’s faith leaders who have organized on social justice issues – such as immigration, police reform, marriage equality, and gun violence – are poised to stand for the open Internet as an urgent civil rights issue of our generation. Without an open Internet protected by Title II of the Communications Act, faith leaders cannot effectively help their communities organize politically, access healthcare, vote, start businesses, or express themselves.”

Faithful Internet (Feb. 18, 2015)

“Everyone, at some point, has shifted over from one Communion line to another during Mass because it seemed shorter and, thus, faster. Now imagine what it would be like if you could always have a ‘fast lane’ to receive Communion — but you had to pay for it.”

Mark Pattison, Catholic News Service (May 13, 2014)

“By protecting the open Internet, the FCC will protect the platform that is fueling a new civil rights movement. Net neutrality provides a level playing field for all voices, and it has allowed Black activists, entrepreneurs, and citizens to find their audience online, despite often being left out of traditional media.”

Rashad Robinson, Executive Director, (Feb. 4, 2015)

“More than one million people have stood up for net neutrality in the last seven weeks [by making calls and sending emails], which shows how deeply engaged the public is with this issue. The public overwhelmingly rejects internet fast lanes for the rich and slow lanes for the rest of us. Congress should follow the will of the people and stop trying to interfere with the FCC.”

Grassroots net neutrality activists, including Fight for the Future and (Feb. 18, 2015)

“All must be treated equally, regardless of race, color, beliefs and, perhaps most importantly, how rich they are. The major corporate ISPs have lobbied hard to create a multitiered Internet to squeeze more profit out of this public treasure. Tom Wheeler and the other commissioners have listened, not only to President Obama, but to the public, millions of people who have demanded the fundamental right to communicate without discrimination.”

Amy Goodman, Democracy Now! host (Feb. 8, 2015)

“The discussion of net neutrality is muddled with technical jargon and conflicting messages, but because the final vote on its regulation is coming up on February 26, it is important to understand the concept and see why an Internet devoid of discrimination is the most powerful resource we have for fostering ingenuity and cooperation.”

Jake Taylor, Ka Leo (The Voice) (Feb. 19, 2015)

What People Are Saying About Attacks on the Open Internet

“By turning net neutrality into ‘Obamacare for the Internet,’ these alarmists have given themselves a political boogeyman, something they can trot out to scare voters and raise campaign dollars. But cries that the sky is falling on the future of the internet simply don’t match the facts on the ground.”

Ben Popper, The Verge (Feb. 6, 2015)

“Republicans are about to ‘Benghazi all over again’ on net neutrality… Critics will seek to tie the net neutrality proposal — which aims to ban the blocking or slowing of Internet traffic — to President Obama. The White House, they say, inappropriately pushed an independent agency to consider far more aggressive regulations than what it had initially proposed. The two-pronged assault on the administration will be louder and far more combative than anything previously seen from conservatives on the issue.”

Brian Fung, Washington Post (Feb. 10, 2015)

“Even one Republican member of Congress, who spoke without attribution, said the White House move did not appear to rise to the level of “undue” influence.

“‘No, they have due influence,’ the member said. ‘They have a chairman, they have a majority and they’re using it.’”

Mario Trujillo, The Hill (Feb. 15, 2015)

“The better explanation [for] the twin Congressional investigations [into the FCC] are no more than a political stunt to muddy the waters in the net neutrality debate. That’s a shame. No matter what you think of the substance of Wheeler’s proposal… the American public deserves better on this matter than Congress’s ‘investigations.’”

Jeff John Roberts, GigaOm (Feb. 10, 2015)

“FCC rules prohibiting publication of proposals ahead of a vote have been in place for years, impact both parties, and have been the bane of telecom beat reporters for years. Of course, you’d have to ignore the fact that Pai is the same gentleman who denies that the broadband market is uncompetitive, and has absolutely no problem with ISPs non-transparently writing state laws that keep things that way. As such, you wonder just how far this sudden breathless interest in transparency goes…”

Karl Bode, Techdirt (Feb. 11, 2015)

“At the risk of being wrong on the record, I’d venture the following guesses: Chairman Wheeler has the votes to pass his plan. That leaves the two Republican commissioners at an impasse: With no direct leverage to change the plan, their options decrease dramatically.”

Alex Wilhelm, TechCrunch (Feb. 10, 2015)

“[This fight is] already eroding any chance [Republicans] had of appealing to the growing tech industry, which is going to be even more firmly in the Democratic camp after this. And while the support of the broadband industry is nice, it’s not big enough to tip the fundraising scales more than a few milligrams in either direction. All in all, it’s an odd fight. It remains unclear to me why Republicans have chosen this particular hill to die on.”

Kevin Drum, Mother Jones (Feb. 13, 2015)

“It’s not clear what Congress expects to uncover with its [investigation] request, or even if it were able to do anything if it did discover that FCC staff were communicating extensively with White House staff. But fundamentally that doesn’t matter, because net neutrality has already become a partisan issue. Cable companies have been stirring up their Republicans allies (beneficiaries) in recent months, arguing against overweening government regulation and trying to push through legislation that would bypass the FCC.”

Kieren McCarthy, The Register (Feb. 10, 2015)

“The debate over net neutrality is getting ugly as Republicans make a last ditch attempt at derailing the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) plan to regulate the internet as a public utility… Obama may have some influence over Wheeler, but the telecom lobby has plenty of influence over Congress, where telecom companies and their industry groups consistently rank among the top spenders when it comes to lobbying.”

Mike Ludwig, Truthout (Feb. 11, 2015)

“Defenders of the status quo are now frantically filling the tubes with FUD about the FCC’s [net neutrality] decision. But as you work through this FUD, keep one basic fact clear. Relative to practically every other comparable nation, America’s broadband sucks… Nations that imposed neutrality-like rules beat us, in cost and quality. They have more competition, faster growth, and better access. So for anyone remotely connected to reality-based policy making, it has been clear forever that America made a wrong turn in its regulatory strategy, and that we needed an about face.”

Lawrence Lessig, author of “Republic, Lost” (Feb. 19, 2015)

“This is our final judgment on conservatives fighting against net neutrality. You are frauds… Net neutrality isn’t Obamacare for the internet. Net neutrality is the government saying we are going to keep the internet exactly as it is today… Net neutrality protects the internet and keeps it as it is. That’s the reality.”

The Young Turks (Feb. 9, 2015)