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Nationwide Net Neutrality Protests Planned For Thursday

Courtesy of Zero Hedge

Last Wednesday, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released its plan to reverse net neutrality regulations that were put in place under the Obama administration in 2015. Net neutrality is the concept that all internet traffic should be treated equally by internet service providers (ISPs), regardless of the content that is delivered or who it was created by.

Statista's Felix Richter explains that the new proposal, named the Restoring Internet Freedom order, would no longer classify ISPs as public utilities but rather as information services, meaning that telecommunication companies such as Comcast or Verizon would be legally allowed to create so-called fast lanes for content by providers that either pay for preferential treatment or that the ISP itself has a financial stake in, such as Comcast has in NBC Universal. While the FCC argues that scrapping net neutrality rules would boost investments and innovation by limiting government regulation, advocates of net neutrality argue that the concept creates a level playing field for content providers and fear that getting rid of net neutrality would stifle competition and further increase concentration in the online media landscape.

As Statista's chart below, based on a Consumer Reports survey, shows, the majority of Americans support the current net neutrality rules and don’t think that ISPs should be allowed to regulate what content their customers can access.

Infographic: Americans Voice Support for Net Neutrality | Statista

[You will find more statistics at Statista]

Considering the Republican majority in the commission, it is expected to pass regardless of the vocal opposition from companies and consumers alike.

More than 600 demonstrations are planned at Verizon stores across the United States on Thursday amid the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) plan to kill net neutrality.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai made it clear last month that the FCC will vote on the fate of net neutrality on December 14. The rules currently prohibit internet service providers from charging extra fees, censorship and throttling website speeds.

The rollback is expected to pass the FCC vote next week. However, that is not stopping Demand Progress, Fight for the Future, and the Freepress Action Fund who have formed the coalition called “Battle for the Net”.

Evan Greer, campaign director of Fight for the Future said in a statement: “This is the free speech fight of our generation and internet users are pissed off and paying attention. Ajit Pai may be owned by Verizon, but he has to answer to Congress, and lawmakers have to answer to us, their constituents.”

Common Dreams, a non-profit news-oriented website claims, since Pai revealed his plan to kill net neutrality rules back in mid-November, public outrage has continued to expand, despite the lack of coverage from major media outlets. Since the phone lines opened on November 21, more than 774,325 calls have flooded congressional phone lines.

On Thursday, Americans will take to the streets outside their local Verizon stores and congressional offices to protest against rolling back net neutrality, exactly one week ahead of the FCC’s planned vote.

Mark Stanley, director of communications for Demand Progress said, “With what would be a catastrophic vote by the FCC to repeal net neutrality looming, people are ready to take to the streets in protest and to offer Congress one last chance to answer the question: ‘Do you stand for your constituents’ ability to communicate and connect, or do you stand for Verizon’s bottom line?”

Verizon stores were chosen as the premiere site for the demonstrations because FCC Chairman Ajit Pai previously was the company’s associate general counsel from 2001 to 2003.

The FCC has gone rogue. Congress: do your job and stop @AjitPaiFCC from killing #NetNeutrality on Dec 14. https://t.co/xSJHbLq2Wn

— Fight for the Future (@fightfortheftr) December 4, 2017

Do you think Facebook, Google, and Twitter have too much power? Killing #NetNeutrality would give them even more by squashing startups and competition. Let's save it: https://t.co/S8d0OxZQe0 pic.twitter.com/p1iVxtVx5p

— Fight for the Future (@fightfortheftr) December 5, 2017

Below is a list of websites, companies, and organizations who are defending net neutrality:

Here are the companies who want to end net neutrality:

Common Dreams said 27 senators including Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders have sent Pai a letter on Monday demanding the FCC to delay the vote. Also, 40 consumer protection groups have sent a letter to Pai asking for a delay as well.

Building on the outrage expressed by the American public, a group of 27 senators including Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) delivered a letter to Pai on Monday demanding that the FCC vote be delayed in the face of evidence that the public “record may be replete with fake or fraudulent comments, suggesting that your proposal is fundamentally flawed.”

A coalition of over 40 consumer protection groups also called on the FCC to postpone its vote on repealing net neutrality in a letter to Pai on Monday, citing a pending court case that could ultimately “leave consumers at the mercy of internet service providers.”

The attempt seemed promising on Monday, but earlier on Tuesday the FCC rejected all calls to delay the net neutrality vote, according to The Hill.

The FCC said in a statement Monday that “the vote will proceed as scheduled on December 14.” In a separate statement provided to Ars Technica, the FCC hit back at those seeking a delay:

This is just evidence that supporters of heavy-handed Internet regulations are becoming more desperate by the day as their effort to defeat Chairman Pai’s plan to restore Internet freedom has stalled. 

With the delay thwarted by the FCC, and over 600 demonstration sites planned at Verizon locations across the nation on Thursday, and with the US already in a state of constant and belligerent outrage, one wonders what else could possibly go wrong on the day the US government itself at risk of being shut down.


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