SAN FRANCISCO—San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee along with other cities nationwide joined together on Tuesday, July 11 to protect net neutrality to make sure the internet remains available to all.

“The internet is no longer a luxury for the select few,” said Mayor 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.”

According to a press release from the Mayor’s Office, mayors from New York City, Seattle, Boston, Washington, D.C. and other cities, along with Mayor Lee submitted a signed letter urging the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to maintain rules against internet blocking, prioritization and other discriminatory practices. The letter urged the FCC to enforce openness, equity and nondiscrimination in internet service freedom and allow innovation to drive the future American economy.

The letter, addressed to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, reinforces the nondiscrimination principles first called for in a 2014 U.S. Conference of Mayors resolution sponsored by Mayor Lee:

-Commitment to transparency;

-The free flow of information over the internet;

-No blocking of lawful websites;

-No reasonable discrimination of unlawful network traffic; and

-No paid prioritization

The letter states:

“Net neutrality is a pocket book issue for American households.  Full repeal would have a particularly negative impact on middle and working class families, while simultaneously restricting access to certain types of online content and services to those who cannot afford to pay more. When internet providers restrict access to certain types of content and services and charge residents for the luxury of accessing information and services online, we are all less free to participate in the modern economy.  For these and many other reasons, repealing these crucial protections will prove disruptive for our residents, our families, our small businesses, and countless others including nonprofits, schools, and libraries.

Additionally, technology startups depend on net neutrality to gain fair and competitive access to customers. A repeal of net neutrality rules could see innovative solutions from these startups relegated to the background as entrenched internet providers steer consumers to established solutions that can afford to pay for privileged status. Our cities depend on a thriving startup community to drive innovation and our continued economic growth.”

San Francisco will join notable websites, companies and organizations to organize action and encourage public comments against the FCC efforts to repeal net neutrality. San Francisco will place a banner on the sfgov.org website directing visitors to the FCC’s net neutrality comment page. The banner will also appear on Mayor Lee’s website, www.sfmayor.org, datasf.org, the Mayor’s open date website, and innovatesf.com, the home page of the Mayor’s Office of Civic Innovation. The first comment deadline to the FCC is Monday, July 17.

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 change was the result of 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.

“Net neutrality is a cornerstone of equity, opportunity and communication,” said New York City 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.”

“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.”

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