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Mayor Walsh joins 50 mayors to advocate for net neutrality on day of action

July 12, 2017

The Mayor will submit a joint letter to the FCC to call for the continuation of net neutrality.

Building on Boston’s commitment to fostering an equitable, accessible environment for all residents and businesses, Mayor Martin J. Walsh today a signed letter with 50 cities urging the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to maintain the current rules protecting the free and open internet. By prohibiting blocking, prioritization and other discriminatory practices, current FCC rules enforce openness, equity and nondiscrimination, and enable the internet to thrive as a platform for the innovation that drives the future American economy.

“A free, open internet is vital to residents and businesses throughout Boston,” said Mayor 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 letter, addressed to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, reinforces the nondiscrimination principles first called for in a 2014 U.S. Conference of Mayors resolution:

  • 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.

“Boston has worked hard to ensure our residents and businesses have choice in the broadband marketplace -- five broadband companies offer service in Boston, and just last year, Verizon announced that they will begin offering Fios service in Boston,” said Jascha Franklin-Hodge, Chief Information Officer for the City of Boston. “Broadband customers should be able to choose what content to access without their Internet Service Provider acting as a gatekeeper or toll taker. An open Internet puts consumers in the driver’s seat, where all websites, apps, and online services compete on a level playing field.”

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 legal and regulatory process during which nearly four million people submitted comments, mostly in favor of strong open internet protections under Title II. This order established the net neutrality protections that exists today.

Read the mayoral letter