AUSTIN — On Saturday, Net Neutrality advocates Demand Progress, Fight for the Future and the Free Press Action Fund will fly an airplane towing a 1,500-square-foot banner over Austin, Texas. The banner will celebrate the recent FCC vote to protect Net Neutrality while calling out Sen. Ted Cruz for his opposition to the open Internet.
The banner reads "Don’t Be an Enemy of the Internet Sen. Ted Cruz." It flew over the state capital on March 13 and will fly over Austin again on March 14 from 4:30–7:30 p.m.
Sen. Cruz opposes online protections for Internet users, calling Net Neutrality rules "Obamacare for the Internet.” During his relatively short tenure in the Senate, Cruz has received more than $60,000 in campaign donations from the same phone and cable companies trying to kill Net Neutrality.
The banner expresses the tremendous grassroots support for Net Neutrality, and serves as a warning to politicians like Cruz who side with phone and cable companies. It will circle Austin as the city plays host to the annual South by Southwest Music, Film and Interactive Festival.
In 2014, Fight for the Future, Demand Progress, and the Free Press Action Fund launched BattlefortheNet.com, which became the most popular hub for Net Neutrality activism. The three groups also collaborated on the Sept. 10 Internet Slowdown protest, which involved more than 40,000 websites — including heavyweights like Netflix, Kickstarter and Tumblr — and drove more than 770,000 comments to the FCC in a single day.
“Senator Cruz needs to decide: Is he on the side of monopoly-minded cable companies or will he stand with the millions of U.S. Internet users fighting for free speech online?” said Free Press Action Fund Internet Campaign Director Candace Clement. “The people of Texas know the answer. It’s time for politicians like Cruz to cut their ties to Big Cable and support real Net Neutrality.”
"The public has overwhelmingly spoken out in favor of Net Neutrality, and the FCC delivered," said Demand Progress Executive Director David Segal. "Yet some politicians like Senator Cruz continue to side with the Big Cable lobby by working against the public interest and trying to unravel the FCC’s new rules. Our banner is an Internet-backed reminder to Cruz and all politicians that if you stand against Net Neutrality, you are standing against the Internet. We had to crowdfund this airplane flight, but if we could figure out how to harness all the hot air Ted Cruz has been blowing on Net Neutrality, we could get a blimp off the ground for free."
"Texans love their liberty, yet Senator Ted Cruz has been standing on the side of behemoth cable companies that have colluded with big government for years to maintain their monopoly status at the expense of consumer freedom, choice and access to information," said Fight for the Future Campaign Director Evan Greer. "The Internet is rising and showing its power. Any politicians standing in its way should know by now that they are standing on the wrong side of history, and will pay the political cost for selling out their constituents."
Contact: Mark Stanley, Demand Progress
Phone: 682 429-2776
Contact: Timothy Karr, Free Press Action Fund
Phone: 201 533-8838
Contact: Evan Greer, Fight for the Future
Phone: 978 852-6457