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Do you use the internet? Like, at all? On your phone, on your laptop, on a big glowing gaming rig or a desktop held together with chewing gum and good thoughts? Then you should know we’re on the cusp of something that could destroy the internet as we know it: the end of government-enforced net neutrality.

Back in our June 2017 issue, I wrote about what net neutrality is and why it matters. But so much has been happening that it feels like years since then, so I’ll give you a refresher: “Net neutrality” is the policy that all internet traffic should be treated the same regardless of its source. Service providers aren’t allowed to throttle, for example, Netflix, which they might want to do to make their own streaming service look more appealing or so they can charge an extra fee to get it at full speed. Or they might just do it because they think it’s too much of a burden on their networks – they’ve done it before.

While the Netflix example is the most likely to spur your average citizen into action, it’s also vital to anyone whose politics fall left of center to keep the internet free from corporate control and censorship.

Net neutrality has always been the unofficial foundation of the internet, but it wasn’t made law here in the US until 2015. But like everything progressives accomplished in the last decade, that law is now in danger. The process of killing it was started back in May with a Federal Communications Commission vote to proceed. Now Trump’s FCC chairman, Ajit Pai, has revealed just how ugly his plans are.

On December 14th, the FCC will cast their final vote on the death of net neutrality.

The corporate interests want this so bad that the Washington Post has reported the FCC’s public comments were flooded with anti-neutrality submissions parroting industry talking points, using stolen identities that likely belong to the companies’ customers. Trump’s FCC is so deep in the industry’s pockets they aren’t cooperating with the New York attorney general’s efforts to investigate the thefts of his constituents’ identities.

This has been a year of Americans standing up and saying no, of shouting at town halls and protests until they couldn’t be ignored. The Affordable Care Act was saved by people like the disability advocates who protested until they were arrested at Senator Portman’s office and at the offices of other congresspeople all over the country. We can still do this.

No one currently on the FCC has an office in Columbus, but that doesn’t mean we can’t get their attention. As a federal commission, we’re all their constituents, and congress can still stand up to them., organized by Fight For The Future, has information on the issues, action forms, and a map of planned protests, including two as of this writing in Columbus. Call Rob Portman’s office until his staffers hear ringing phones in their sleep. Sherrod Brown is already taking a stand against the FCC on this – show him that it matters.

Keep fighting. We can do this. And then we can finish Stranger Things 2 with our Netflix at full speed.

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