by Maria Teresa Roca de Togores, Policy Intern
While last week’s internet slowdown protest brought Net Neutrality to the headlines, resulting in the most comments to the FCC on any topic ever, this week is going to be equally busy and important for defenders of the open internet. For those who need a refresher, net neutrality is the principle that all legitimate web traffic should be treated equally by internet service providers; it’s fundamental to how the internet can function as a democratic platform where all voices can be heard, and especially important for independent musicians and labels. Read on for the full details!
Monday, September 15: Reply comments due, rallies in NY and Philly
Monday is the last day that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will be accepting additional public comments for the offical record on this round of open internet. As we explained last month:
During this phase, parties from all sides of the issue will have the opportunity to respond to comments from the first phase. The reply comment period is crucial to giving the FCC a full understanding of the positions on the issue, and will allow commenters to address issues they missed in their initial filing.
You can refer to arguments made by supporters of the open internet and point out things you agree with.
And you can refer to arguments made by opponents of Title II reclassification and (politely) explain to the FCC why they’re wrong. (Verizon’s comments, for example, include some real whoppers.)
You don’t need to restrict yourself to replying to just one comment; you can refer to as many as you like. Additionally, you still have the opportunity to raise new arguments about why the open internet is important to you, as a musician, as a consumer, or just as a citizen. They’ll be considered as well.
Comments can be submitted electronically either through the FCC’s webform or via an email to openinternet [at] fcc [dot] gov. Alternatively, for those who are in the vicinity of an FCC office, physical copies can be hand-delivered directly to the FCC. FreePress will also be collecting your comments here.
Meanwhile, lunchtime rallies are planned in New York and Philadelphia in support of Net Neutrality, and against the proposed Comcast/TimeWarner Cable Merger. Here’s where to get the full details:
New York: RSVP, email, Facebook event
Philadelphia: RSVP, email, Facebook event
Tuesday, September 16: FCC Roundtables in DC
On Tuesday, the FCC will be holding a series of Open Internet Roundtable Discussions. These are official meetings where the commisioners will solicit detailed feedback from experts on some of the more technical and legal details of net neutrality approaches. Here’s the schedule:
8:30 am - 8:45 am: Welcome and Opening remarks
8:45 am -10:15 am: Policy Approaches: Tailoring Policy To Harms
10:30 am - Noon: Policy Approaches: Scope of Open Internet Rules
1 pm - 2:30 pm: Policy Approaches: Enchancing Transparency
3 pm to 4.30 pm: Mobile Broadband
These roundtables are open to the public and will also be streamed live at the FCC’s website. There won’t be an open microphone, but the FCC will be taking suggested questions in advance and during the roundtables via email (roundtables [at] fcc [dot] gov (subject: Question%20for%20Open%20Internet%20Roundtables) ) and Twitter using the hashtag #FCCRoundtables. You can visit the FCC’s website for further detailed information about the first and second series respectively.
If you’re in DC, you may also want to attend a rally outside the FCC during the roundtables. Representatives of a diverse array of groups will thank the FCC for continuing to solicit public input on the issue, but also emphasize the importance of getting outside of the beltway. We’d like to see FCC commissioners talking face to face with citizens (including musicians, songwriters, and indie labels) all over the country, and hear straight from the source why Net Neutrality is so important, and why Title II is the way to acheive it.
Wednesday, September 17: Senate Committee Hearing
On Wednesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing entitled Why Net Neutrality Matters: Protecting Consumers and Competition through Meaningful Open Internet Rules. The hearing will start at 10.30am and FMC will be covering it live on Twitter so be sure to follow us for updates through @future_of_music. You will also be able to watch live at the Committee’s website. You can expect that the hearing will include discussion of the Online Competition and Consumer Choice Act, introduced in in July.
Friday, September 19: More FCC Roundtables
On Friday, the FCC will be wrapping up its Open Internet Roundtable Series at their headquarters in DC. Here’s the schedule:
10 am - 10:15 am: Welcome and Opening remarks
10:15 am-12:30 pm: Effective Enforcement of Open Internet Requirements
1:30 pm - 1:45 pm: Welcome & Opening Remarks
1:45 pm to 4.30 pm: Technological Aspects of An Open Internet
As on Tuesday, hese roundtables are open to the public and will also be streamed live at the FCC’s website. Suggest uestions in advance and during the roundtables via email (roundtables [at] fcc [dot] gov (subject: Question%20for%20Open%20Internet%20Roundtables) ) and Twitter using the hashtag #FCCRoundtables. You can visit the FCC’s website for further detailed information.
FMC will be on top of all these events and sending updates throughout the week through Twitter and Facebook, so that those interested in preventing the enactment of a “two-tiered internet” will not miss any details of what is discussed.
Net Neutrality image by Jona Bechtolt.