The Fate of the Internet Lies with the House of Representatives, Sort of

In the first post in this series we detailed how the end of net neutrality had come and gone and how we hadn’t seen much of anything change yet. That’s in large part because a host of lawsuits and legislative battles are now rolling at a low boil. So where are we at now, more than two months in? Well, to simply thing just a bit, let’s just say that the future of Net Neutrality now lies with the House of Representatives.

A vote in the house would either re-instate the old rules or keep the repeal in place. But a vote doesn’t just happen. First, a petition in favor of making a vote happen must be signed by 218 members. As of right now, 176 have made their mark. So is it going to happen? Well, we all know how much politicians love to clearly and explicitly stick their necks out and choose a side.

But wait! There’s hope. Recently, Republican Mike Coffman of Colorado pulled an about-face, joining the fight to restore Net Neutrality—so it is possible.

What You Can Do:

1. In this contentious time, elected officials hear a lot about what they’re doing wrong. This is a rare chance for us Mainers to give certain representatives a big high five. Angus King and Chellie Pingree voted along party lines to support Net Neutrality. Susan Collins took bold and decisive action to do what’s right. Give her office a call to say thanks and express your support for Net Neutrality.
202-224-2523 | @SenatorCollins

2. Perhaps even more importantly, if you’re in Maine’s 2nd District, give Bruce Poliquin a call and let him know that you support a free and open Internet. Not in the 2nd? Give Susan Collins another call and tell her to tell him!
202-225-6306 | @RepPoliquin

At this point, you’re probably thinking one of two things:

a) Well jeez, I’m a GWI Internet customer and I’ll never have to deal with the repercussions of the Net Neutrality repeal because you guys have my back.
• That’s true. We’ll never block certain sites or apps, or otherwise control your internet experience. We also won’t even throttle your data to inhibit your access to certain types of content. Same goes for paid prioritization: making a slow, boggy internet the standard for anyone who doesn’t pay for premium services is not our style.
• Unfortunately, the repeal of Net Neutrality is all about allowing the big telecoms to get bigger and force the little independent guys like us out of the game all together.

b) I’m not a GWI customer, and a week into this whole “no more Net Neutrality thing” everything’s fine. I’m still streaming what I want, when I want and going to any site I want.
• Like giant tech companies, giant telecoms aren’t stupid. Remember when there used to be no ads on Facebook? How’s your feed looking today? Jammed with ads? Exactly. That didn’t happen overnight either. They’re just waiting until you let your guard down, then they’ll STRIKE.

Even if the House of Reps can’t get its act together and do what’s right, we still have a chance. Governors in six states—Hawaii, New Jersey, New York, Montana, Rhode Island, Vermont—have signed executive orders to protect Net Neutrality on a more local level. Three states—Oregon, Vermont, Washington—have also enacted legislation that in effect does the same thing.

Interested in what it’s going to take for Maine to do the same thing? Look for our next post in this series soon: Post 3: Hope for Net Neutrality at Home in Maine.