Veterans, service members and military families rely on the open Internet to stay in touch with loved ones overseas, and to access essential services at home such as health care, education and employment. The repeal of net neutrality gives cable companies the authority to throttle traffic, censor online free speech and charge new fees that veterans can’t afford. If you are a US veteran or active-duty service member, please sign this open letter calling on our elected officials in Congress to restore net neutrality.
Dear Member of Congress,
We are US veterans calling on our elected officials in Congress to protect the free and open internet. Veterans, military families, and service members rely on the Internet to keep in touch with loved ones overseas and access essential services at home. The open Internet allows American small businesses to thrive, and has created new jobs — in the tech field and others — that veterans urgently need.
The loss of net neutrality will allow cable companies to throttle services to online communities used by service members, censor free speech, and charge new fees that veterans can’t afford. The end of net neutrality jeopardizes access to VA telemedicine, streaming video calls, even online banking — all services veterans and our families rely on.
As veterans, we have served and we have sacrificed. When we put on the uniform we were told it was to defend basic freedoms for all. We are deeply concerned those same freedoms will not be protected without strong, enforceable net neutrality. As a result, we are asking our representatives to sign the discharge petition and vote for the Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution to reverse the FCC’s repeal and restore open Internet protections that are essential for American’s online freedom.
Thank you for considering our views.
Thousands of veterans from all five branches of service have signed this open letter to Congress, urging our lawmakers to listen to the voices of the people and overturn the FCC's repeal of net neutrality. These are just a few comments from men and women who feel that the destruction of net neutrality is counter to the values they have fought to protect:
“I, and all of the veterans served (or continue to serve) to protect our country and our Constitution. As we served honorably, I now ask you to honorably serve us by defeating the loss of net neutrality.” Robert Jones
“I stood up for freedom when my country needed me, now I need my country to stand up for freedom. Protect Net Neutrality, please.” Pat Taber, Army
“Free exchange of ideas as the Constitution permits is just a part what we were serving to protect.” Raymond C. Bryan
“As a US Veteran, I strongly support net neutrality backed by Title 2 oversight of ISPs. Come on FCC - this is COMMON SENSE. Abolishing net neutrality legislation has the potential to take away freedom of speech to American Citizens due to ISPs being able to control the speeds at which we receive our information.” David Habisohn
“As a U.S. veteran, the freedom of the Internet has meant everything to me. It belongs to everyone in the form it started. Some gave all, and some served longer but at 21+ years I would not want it tampered with by the politicians, the FCC and big business billionaire companies that paid them to disrupt and/or take away one more of the freedoms that we enjoy as United States citizens.” Eric Bollin, Army
“Please don't let this be another way that our government let's down veterans. Stand for what you k ow is right.” Jennifer Welling, Air Force Veteran
“USAF, Desert Storm Era. I know firsthand what a vital tool the Internet is for veterans, and particularly when it comes to those deployed overseas, it becomes literally a lifeline. The net should be treated as traffic-neutral; any other method is simply not sustainable and flies in the face of the Internet's design.” Kelly Luck
“Please don't take away net neutrality. Not being able to use the services of unfettered internet while on deployment will be a nightmare for those deployed and their families.” Thomas Garrett, USAF
“"Drain the swamp!" End political appointment of corporate shills. (Yes, I'm talking about you, Ajit Pai.)” Glen Neff
“I was always told the airwaves were owned by the people and leased to corporations. If that is in fact true, then we the people should have a say in how & to whom they are leased. Just because our govt. dropped the ball on 9/11 should not mean we the people should pay an indefinite price for their mistake. It is past time that the American people should have a say in what is rightfully theirs. Net neutrality should be the law, not net monopoly.” Gordon LeMons, USMC
“We've seen what happens when big business is give free reign. It consumes without thought or conscience. Now it threatens to consume communication and information that people need to stay informed - a form of freedom I as a military member swore to protect. Return to net neutrality.” Lorianne Arwood, Air Force
“Net neutrality is tantamount to freedom of speech. Anyone who tries to interfere with one of the most fundamental of American rights is a traitor. Once again, American values are being sold to corporate interests by those that are supposed to representing the citizens.” Jackie Critser
“I fought for an America of individual choice not corporate monopoly. Restore Net Neutrality!” William Lingenfelter, United States Army
“This hurts aging vets who have to live on small fixed incomes.” Carl Fussell, Army
“This is a no-brainer to everyone who is not a telecom lobbyist.” Matthew Twomey, Army
“Couldnt agree more, I signed up to defend freedom not what some faceless corporation determines what my freedom will be. Freedom is Freedom.” Bill Deboer, USMC
“You’re constantly putting money in pockets that don’t struggle and taking more and more from pockets who do. This is another example. Striking down net neutrality is going to allow money hungry giants to continue to feed on hard working Americans. It might even hurt those who are trying to further their education. I support my President, but I do not support all his decisions and this is one of those I don’t.” Andy Klotz, Army
“I work from home and my company does not reimburse my internet costs. Ending net neutrality will surely impact my cost of service and will jeopardize my ability to stay working for the company I've been employed for 19 years. Not to mention the other negative implications to average Americans. Please reverse the FCC's ill-advised ruling.” Justin Singmaster, Army
“I wore the uniform of my country for nearly 24 years and never intended for the benefits of that service to be limited to wealthy fellow citizens.” Larry Holman
“As a US Navy veteran who deployed from my family numerous times, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of being able to connect via the internet with loved ones at home. Please act to repeal the FCC decision to roll back net nutrality rules and keep an open and fair internet for our service members and their family.” Robert York
“I am a veteran who is in school for Information Technology. The loss of net neutrality has not done anything to improve the internet access. It will only damage the infrastructure of US internet as prices for connections increase without any improvements to speed. As a veteran whos future income is tied to high internet speeds without data caps, this is a large concern.” James W. Bryant, United States Marine Corps
“Disgraceful. Is THIS what we risked our lives for? For big and fancy people and business control what the little people can and can't do? If I would've known this would happen I wouldn't have signed up. Screw YOU Ajit Pai! And Trump? What the hell, man? I VOTED for you! Next time you better count my ass out!” James Walter
“I am an Army Signal Corps veteran who worked at a Detroit non-profit (now retired) to provide computer training, technology and connectivity to the under-served of our community in an effort to bridge the Digital Divide. The loss of Net Neutrality cripple those efforts to provide low income folks the access to very vital digital communication.” Anthony Semanik, Army
“I expect this to be a top priorit for my representatives. If it is not they will not get my vote in their next re-election.” Rebecca Griswold, Navy
“Freedom is what america stands for, not helping the rich get richer by taking advantage of what has free reign and marketing it and restricting the use of th8ngs like the internet. Net neutrality, in my eyes is upheld by the 1st amendment, freedom of speach. If the fcc has the right to block, charge extra or even limit what we are exposed to, that is an infringement on our rights as american citizens. I, as a vet am completely appalled by the government to even let this be considered.” Marcus Gioia
“I served 4 in the Corps for our freedoms, and not for a corporation. Please restore Net Neutrality!!” Craig Rose
“An open internet is the technological keystone to freedom of speech.” Brian McKinley
“Taking away net neutrality is a red flag to me and probably to many in our country that our democracy is slipping away and that the profit and power of the elite is more important than the welfare and dignity of the citizens of this country. Please send the right message this time to your constituents and restore net neutrality. It will go a long way in helping to restore the trust we have in our government !” Marty E Levin, army
“The internet is what makes it possible for me to take care of my families needs while deployed. Communication, banking, bill paying, even the administration of deployments themselves require internet. There are plenty of cases where corporations screw over those in uniform, so many places where a service is denied just because I put on the uniform. It needs to stop. Bring back real internet protections for those of us that really need them through Title 2 oversight.” Edward S. Savich, United States Navy
“Open free speech is not a commercial commodity. It is lifeline to all whether it is to promote commerce or family communications. The FCC ruling censors that by allowing providers control over access. That is wrong. Those in the service of this country rely on open communication with loves ones.” John L Aponick
“As a proud veteran of the USMC, I strongly support net neutrality backed by Title 2 oversight of ISPs. Corporations should have no right to restrict or favor any internet traffic over another. In contrast to the lies of Ajit Pai we have seen corporations such as Verizon, Comcast and others attempt to do just that prior to the previous net neutrality laws (which did not go far enough to protect the internet). Please do what we we elected you to do and represent the American people in this and not lobbyists for corporations. We will be watching how you vote.” Eldon Alameda
“"Drain the swamp!" End political appointment of corporate shills. (Yes, I'm talking about you, Ajit Pai.)” Glen Neff, Army
“I am without words to express how betrayed I feel... the country I love so much, and would give my life defending, is handing our digital freedom to the service providers. Our only voice against their cable monopolies was cutting the cord. When that finally started to make a difference, they came for the internet... and the FCC gave it to them! I just received a letter this morning from my service provider, informing me that they would be downgrading my video streaming quality to SD, despite my unlimited data. However, I could upgrade to HD for an additional monthly charge. This is the internet being held hostage.” Tom Bennard, Army
“I feel that this Net Neutrality is a very important issue, and that our Congress have dropped the ball on it...they should have fought for the rights of the people, not corporations!” Brant Pfister, Army
“I work in the IT industry as well as being an Army veteran and I am extremely disappointed that the FCC has abdicated its responsibility to protect American citizens from abuse by major Internet Service Providers. I respectfully demand that Congress take action to reverse the FCC decision to remove Title 2 oversight of Internet Service Providers.” Chris Prescott, Army
“I'm very disappointed that I'll have to tell my grandchildren that I fought in a war so that the US could stay involved in politics in the middle east, but all I did to preserve one of the most American things about us (free internet) was sign a stupid petition. Please do something. Nothing worse than a bunch of pissed off military service members.” Tim Barber, USMC
“Corporate influence in Congress has corrupted the values I lost my legs for, and the situation with net neutrality is one of the most blatant examples. This needs to change. That can start by honoring net neutrality.” Adrian Simone, USMC
“Net neutrality shouldn't be a partisan idea. It's the right answer for the future of the internet. Do the right thing.” Michael Hoyt
“We need open access to the internet... The private sector did not create the internet... they need to keep their hands and profit seeking off the need. we need open communication without interference!” Thomas Unthank, Army | Signal Corp
“I’m a home bound disabled VN Veteran and rely on the neutrality of the Internet every day of my life. It is my only connection to the outside world. Repealing net neutrality only benefits the bottom line of ISPs, telecom networks, and big business in general. The Internet is every bit as necessary to me and everyday citizens as natural gas, electricity, water which without question classifies the Internet as a utility. DO NOT REPEAL NET NEUTRALITY!” Paul Levin, Army
“As an educator, the thought of an individual being able to slow down, limit or restrict access to information based on their personal beliefs is terrifying. As a Gunnery Sergeant in the Marines it is a slap in the face to all those whom fight to protect the constitution from all enemies, foreign and domestic, and they are spitting on the graves of all those who died to protect the same.” Luis Garcia
“Vietnam-Era Hospital Corpsman who believes open access to information and a variety of viewpoints is essential to true democracy.” David Casker, Navy
“When I served to defend "The Land of the Free," I never imagined an Internet. I'd like to think that Freedom could be applied to the internet, though. My nephew is now serving and he relies on his daily contact with his wife and two young sons. For ONCE please start thinking beyond your precious Bottom Line and the donors to whom you are probably "beholdin'." Think of those who serve. And serve THEM for a change.” Clifford Niven
“I am a disabled veteran, I use things such as; Facebook and LinkedIn to keep in touch with my battle buddies in North Carolina,please reverse the FCC repeal of net neutrality” Forrest Perez
“Breaking net neutrality is an attack on the American values of free speech; my oath, even retired, demands that I oppose these actions. Reinstitute net neutrality!” Victor B Putz Jr, USAF
These organizations support the veterans and active service members who have signed the open letter to Congress to restore net neutrality.
Our Congressional representatives are home in their districts for August recess. On Tuesday, August 28th, US veterans and supporters across the country will gather outside our elected officials' offices and present them with our open letter calling on lawmakers to restore net neutrality.