With a real possibility that the US could restore net neutrality rules at the federal level under the Biden administration, Mozilla today is launching a two-pronged effort to engage consumers in the fight, including releasing new polling data and unveiling an overview of the history of net neutrality in the United States.

Net neutrality regulations prevent internet service providers (ISPs), such as Verizon or Comcast, from speeding up online connections to favored websites while slowing down consumer access to others. Without net neutrality, ISPs could control what people see and do online rather than consumers themselves having control.

While President Biden’s acting FCC chair, Jessica Rosenworcel, is a strong open-internet advocate, the President still has to fill an empty Commission seat, and his choice for full-time FCC Chair will be crucial to the future of net neutrality. To underscore the stakes, today we are excited to share:

  • A history of net neutrality in the US: Get a crash course on the history of net neutrality -- from its origins in the “common carrier” regulations for telephone companies to 2015’s first comprehensive federal protections to their dismantling in 2018 -- to new ways for consumers to take action and support net neutrality today.
  • Survey findings - Americans don’t trust ISPs to look out for them: 63 percent of consumers do not trust ISPs to look out for their best interests, and 72 percent want control of what they see online without meddling or interference from ISPs, according to the findings released today from a new survey we conducted with YouGov.***
63% say ISPs will NOT voluntarily look out for consumer's best interests
72% say that consumers should control what they see and do on the internet

“This opportunity to reinstate federal net neutrality rules comes during a global pandemic when Americans are relying heavily on an open internet, one with equal access and no fast lanes for the content ISPs want to prioritize for profit,” said Ashley Boyd, Vice President of Advocacy and Engagement at Mozilla. “By guaranteeing a level playing field online, net neutrality rules foster innovation and free expression while also protecting consumers from predatory business practices.”

Mozilla has been at the forefront of the net neutrality fight for a decade, including bringing the case Mozilla v. FCC to federal court in 2018. This past March, we joined a coalition of internet companies, including DropBox, Reddit, and Wikimedia, in urging the FCC to prioritize reinstating net neutrality.

***All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 1305 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 16th - 17th March 2021. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all US adults (aged 18+).