Article Mac Clemmens

Protecting your ability to communicate with your users
An update on Net Neutrality

Since we last updated your site, the FCC voted to uphold “Net Neutrality” by reclassifying the internet as a utility. This creates a statutory backing for the time-honored principle of ensuring that all internet traffic is treated equally—ensuring that no “sponsored” sites or internet-service-provider-endorsed sites would load faster while other sites would load more slowly. This means that Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T will not get to build new “premium lanes” on the internet and then charge site operators to use them. In our view, this is good news for you.

Although we do not consider ourselves an advocacy organization, we feel from time to time that there are issues so universally important to the well-being of our customers and local communities that we are compelled to take action. This is one such issue. The threat of having our customers—many of whom are nonprofit organizations, schools, associations and foundations—placed in a “slow lane” not because of the merit of their content but based upon their willingness or ability to pay runs deeply contrary to our mission of empowering communication and connecting communities.

I think of WEAVE, one of our oldest customers and a pillar of our community, and I wonder, “should women seeking help for domestic violence be forced to wait longer for their pages to load, while some commercially-sponsored content takes priority on the network, all in order to provide a new revenue stream to internet service providers?” The answer is a resounding, “No.”

Last fall when things weren’t looking so good for net neutrality we decided to take a stand. We reached out to you to participate in the Internet Slowdown Day. We wrote editorials that appeared in nearly a dozen newspapers locally and across the US, we took to the airwaves, and we even traveled to Washington D.C. for a meeting at the White House as well as with ten different senators, representatives, and their staff. Fortunately, due to the hard work of so many who understood the importance of this issue, the outcome was positive.

While the fight for the fair treatment of content on the internet is long from over, you can count on us to keep you apprised of any new developments. If you have questions or thoughts about this issue, please feel free to contact me at, and thank you for your support.