Where do the 2020 presidential candidates stand on net neutrality?

One of NTEN’s core beliefs is that the internet is vital to our daily lives and that it should be affordable and accessible to all people. We use the internet every day for things ranging from registering for health care, managing appointments, and talking with doctors to accessing education and communicating with family member’s schools. From finding and applying for jobs to engaging in social and civic life locally and nationally. That’s not to mention how necessary the internet is for nonprofit organizations to function, communicate internally, and serve their communities.

Net neutrality is the principle that all internet service providers (ISPs) should provide access to all content and applications equally without preference for the source or destination of the content. Net neutrality is significantly impacted by who is president because the president is the one who appoints the chairman of the FCC, the governing body on internet related policy.

Yet, in the four presidential candidate debates held so far, there has been no mention at all of the topic. (The debates included only Democratic candidates. There are three declared Republican candidates, though no debates are scheduled.)

There are many reasons why this could be the case: the debates have been broadcast on commercial networks owned by leading opponents of net neutrality. Most of the candidates have received donations from ISPs. And the candidates themselves may not have an opinion on it. Regardless of why the topic hasn’t come up, we need to put pressure on the candidates and the debate hosts to name net neutrality. The candidates should be asked if they will reinstate the rules set in place under President Obama in 2015 and undone by President Trump in 2017.

Remember, 86% of folks in the U.S. opposed the repeal President Trump made in 2017. With a topic that has such overwhelming support, there is no reason that candidates are not called to commit to their plans.

Here are three things you can do today:

  1. Watch this informative and entertaining Last Week Tonight with John Oliver video from 2017 to learn more about net neutrality or read this recap from CNET which was updated in June.
  2. Contact the candidates, especially any that you may have donated to, and ask they include their plans for net neutrality in their policy statements and on their websites. Ask them to speak about it in the debates.
  3. Tweet ABC News and Univision, who are broadcasting the next debate on Thursday, September 12, and demand that net neutrality be included.
Amy Sample Ward
Driven by a belief that the nonprofit technology community can be a movement-based force for positive change, Amy is NTEN’s CEO and former membership director. Her prior experience in direct service, policy, philanthropy, and capacity-building organizations has also fueled her aspirations to create meaningful, inclusive, and compassionate community engagement and educational opportunities for all organizations. Amy inspires the NTEN team and partners around the world to believe in community-generated change. She believes technology can help nonprofits reach their missions more effectively, efficiently, and inclusively, and she’s interested in everything from digital equity to social innovation.