Open Internet At Stake in D.C. Courtroom Today

The future of the Internet is on the line this morning in a federal courtroom in Washington.

Telecommunications giant Verizon is asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to overturn “open Internet” rules and give it authority to impose special fees on consumers for access to popular websites and online applications. If it wins, Verizon would even be able to block customer access to sites run by its competitors.

You can get an idea of what’s at stake here by looking at Common Cause’s “Goodbye Open Internet?” report, issued last week. We found that Verizon invested more than $53 million in lobbying and political contributions over just the last two election cycles as it ramped up its campaign against open Internet rules imposed by the FCC.

“The question presented by the case is, does the U.S. government have any role to play when it comes to ensuring ubiquitous, open, world-class, interconnected, reasonably priced Internet access?” Susan Crawford, co-director of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard, told The New York Times in an article published this morning. “Does the government have good reason to ensure that facility in America?”

 

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