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Mayor de Blasio Announces NYC to Submit Joint Letter with Other Cities and Participate in a Day of Action to Protect an Open Internet

July 12, 2017

NYC Joins Cities & Tech Industry in a Day of Action in Opposition to the Federal Communications Commission’s Pending Repeal of Net Neutrality

Read Mayoral letter on Net Neutrality

NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio, Chief Technology Officer Miguel Gamiño and Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications Commissioner Anne Roest announced further action to protect and promote an open internet for all.

The mayors of New York City, San Francisco, Seattle, Boston and the District of Columbia today submitted a signed letter with 45 other mayors urging the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to uphold the rules against blocking, prioritization, and other discriminatory practices by internet service providers; enforce openness, equity, and nondiscrimination in internet service. The rules continue to allow the internet to thrive as a platform for the innovation that will drive the future American economy.

The letter reinforces fundamental nondiscrimination principles:

  • Commitment to transparency;
  • The free flow of information over the internet;
  • No blocking of lawful websites;
  • No unreasonable discrimination of lawful network traffic; and
  • No paid prioritization

“Net neutrality is a cornerstone of equity, opportunity and communication,” says Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Transparent and open internet is a fundamental right of every citizen, and overturning net neutrality policies would be an affront to our democracy. Today I stand with other mayors against the repeal of those rules.”

“A free, open internet is vital to residents and businesses throughout Boston,” said Boston Mayor Marty Walsh. “Net neutrality is one tool we have to create an equal playing field for all, and I stand with mayors throughout the U.S. to support an open internet.”

“The internet is no longer a luxury for the select few,” said San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee. “It is an essential tool for communication, education and community-building, and plays a vital role in the democracy of this country. The FCC is threatening to eliminate net neutrality rules that protect the democratic principles of the internet. It is critical that cities from across the country fight back against this action and stand up for an equitable, open internet.”

“Individuals should be free to access the Internet without discriminatory practices applied to services and websites,” said Seattle Mayor Ed Murray. “I encourage everyone to speak up and let the FCC know these rules should be kept in place. This is about equity and the ability for everyone to access the internet.”

NYC will also participate in today’s Day of Action to Save Net Neutrality.

New York City will provide educational information to visitors to the web page.  On the page, the public will be able to learn more about net neutrality, how it affects New York City, and about an open comment period during which New Yorkers’ voice may be heard by the FCC.  Residents of New York City have the right to comment to the federal government about the repeal.  Whatever their opinions may be, an open internet currently allows New Yorkers to communicate effectively with all levels of government.  The first comment deadline to the FCC is July 17, 2017.

“Net neutrality fosters technological advancements and enables our ability to participate in a modern world and benefit from fair competition” said Miguel Gamiño, New York City Chief Technology Officer. “Without net neutrality, individuals and entrepreneurs are not guaranteed to be on equal ground with companies that can monopolize the internet potentially in favor of their own content or services.”

“Make no mistake: the pending repeal of net neutrality is a turning point for technology, for the economy, and for our culture at large,” said Anne Roest, Commissioner of the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications. “The FCC is considering handing the internet to corporations to discriminate against users at will, limiting access to the highest bidders and stifling innovation along the way. This is unacceptable. The internet is like electricity or water—a utility that should be equally available to all.”

Historically, the public has spoken up and been heard on these issues.  The FCC’s 2015 Order Protecting and Promoting the Open Internet under then-Chair Tom Wheeler reclassified internet service as a telecommunication service under Title II of the Telecommunications Act. The move came after a lengthy legal and regulatory process during which nearly 4 million people submitted comments, mostly in favor of strong open internet protections under Title II.

NYC has consistently worked to promote a free internet.  In 2014, Mayor de Blasio signed a letter with the mayors of San Francisco and Portland asking the FCC to issue the strongest possible rules to guarantee net neutrality.

"Our businesses and innovators depend on equal access to the internet, where they are charged for the amount of data they can upload and download regardless of the type of data or that data’s point of origin or destination. And contrary to the assertions of some large service providers, there is no evidence that preserving net neutrality has reduced their incentive to invest in infrastructure," said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. "Allowing internet service providers to price-discriminate based on ‘what kind of data goes through the pipe’ rather than simply ‘the size of the pipe’ will make our country a dramatically less attractive environment for investment and job creation in the tech sector."

“The internet plays a fundamental role in our everyday lives and the modern public sphere,” said Council Member James Vacca, Chair of the New York City Committee on Technology. “A discriminatory internet—what would likely result from the repeal of net neutrality regulations—poses a threat to creativity, innovation, and democracy. We must do everything we can to advocate and gather support for a neutral net, and I’m happy to see our City taking these important actions.”

"We already won protections for the Internet as free and open, but must be ever vigilant in defending it from large corporations who want control over the Internet and its content," said Council Member Ben Kallos who introduced Resolution 573 and authored testimony to the FCC with Council Members in 2014. "Thank you to Mayor Bill de Blasio, Chief Technology Officer Miguel Gamino, and Commissioner Anne Roest for joining with other cities in a day of action in the fight for net neutrality."

"We applaud the nation's mayors for stepping up to defend the free and open Internet," said Craig Aaron, president and CEO of Free Press. "Local leaders understand how important an affordable Internet, free from blocking and discrimination, is to everyone who wants to start a new business, organize in their communities, communicate with their families and connect to local governments. We need strong protections like the ones adopted by the FCC in 2015.

The current Net Neutrality rules have helped the New York technology community grow exponentially, creating thousands of new good paying jobs while becoming the most diverse tech ecosystem in the country” said Andrew Rasiej, Chairman of the 55,000 member NY Tech Alliance. “Rolling back any provisions of Net Neutrality would significantly damage this momentum and prevent New York and the nation from effectively building a 21st century economy that supports all industries and provides opportunity to all people equally.”

"Our sellers depend on a free and open internet to build their businesses and compete with much bigger brands,” said Althea Erickson, Senior Director of Global Policy, Etsy. “Participating in the day of action is one way we plan to continue fighting for net neutrality and our sellers. On July 12th, we will be urging our community to contact the FCC and Congress to stand up for net neutrality."

"The fight for net neutrality is a fight for creativity, innovation, and free expression in the digital age,” said Michal Rosenn, General Counsel, Kickstarter. “Society and culture benefit from an open internet where all ideas — not just those of the privileged few — can be heard."

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