The San Francisco Bay Area has been most vocal in the fight for net neutrality, and there's a reason: Internet openness is crucial to the trailblazing new artists, technologies, and businesses that thrive in this state. And San Francisco’s own Mayor Ed Lee has been an outspoken supporter of net neutrality; he even drafted a resolution this summer calling on the FCC to protect the open Internet.

Thursday, November 20, concerned Bay Area Internet users are gathering at San Francisco City Hall to hold an open forum on net neutrality.  The event is called “Bay Area Speaks: A People’s Hearing on the Future of the Internet” and the public is invited to testify at City Hall about why net neutrality matters to Bay Area communities.  Attendees will also receive an update from the lawyers, policy analysts, and activists who have been working on the front lines to make sure the FCC takes the right path forward.

Before the hearing, supporters are planning to rally outside City Hall at 5:30pm and are encouraged to bring cell phones, laptops, and flashlights for a cell phone vigil and to hold signs, puppets, and colorful art to demonstrate support for Internet freedom. Download this image to display on your screen at the rally.

Here are the details:

What: “Bay Area Speaks: A People's Hearing on the Future of the Internet.”

Who: Former FCC Commissioner Michael Copps; Amy Sonnie, Outreach Director of the Oakland Public Library; Jay Nath, Chief Technology and Innovation Officer for the City of San Francisco; Corynne McSherry, Director of Intellectual Property at the Electronic Frontier Foundation; and Malkia Cyril, Executive Director of the Center for Media Justice, Chris Whitteman of the California Public Utilities Commission, Rebecca Kaplan of Oakland City Council, Dane Jasper of, and performances by Thao Nguyen and Jennifer Johns, among others.

Date: Thursday, November 20

Time: Rally – 5:30 pm, Hearing – 7 pm

Where: San Francisco City Hall

1 Dr Carlton B Goodlett Place


Public outcry is being heard

President Obama shifted the conversation on Monday, echoing the concerns of the four million of Americans who have spoken out by demanding the Federal Communications Commissions craft a set of rules that will firmly uphold the principles of net neutrality.

The White House’s support of effective net neutrality rules was a game changer. President Obama endorsed a route to net neutrality via a mechanism known as Title II reclassification, the same reform agenda that millions of Internet users worldwide have been rallying for since January—including EFF. It’s a major win, but the FCC hasn’t yet signaled that they are following the President’s lead.

To be clear, the FCC hasn’t passed any rules yet. And that’s exactly why Bay Area city officials, librarians, artists, entrepreneurs, technologists, and everyday Internet users have joined forces to keep the conversation alive.

Back in August, EFF and dozens of other advocacy organizations invited the FCC Commissioners to get out of DC and visit the Bay Area to hear directly from some of the millions of Americans who have submitted comments in their rulemaking process. We felt the Commission would benefit from hearing the stories and concerns of local people who care about the future of the Internet.

Although the Commissioners are not going to attend, this issue is too big to only be debated in Washington D.C.. So EFF teamed up with organizations like the Center for Media Justice, Free Press, and Media Alliance to hold a People’s Hearing at City Hall in San Francisco to collect testimony for the public record about why an open Internet is essential for the future of the Bay Area’s diverse communities.

We need to make sure California voices are heard in the national discussions. If you’re in the Bay Area, we invite you to join us on November 20 at San Francisco City Hall. The fight isn’t over yet; come join us at the front lines.