Websites Mobilize a 'Day of Action' to Support Net Neutrality

Posted July 14, 2017

Entering the Wednesday war, many net neutrality supporters recalled a similar internet protest begun in 2015 that helped push the FCC, then under the leadership of Democratic Chairman Tom Wheeler, to adopt the rules now in place.

That could make it harder for smaller companies to compete and could limit consumers' access to the content they want online, advocates of net neutrality say. The participation of Google and Facebook in the day-of-action campaign could be a game-changer because their sites are visited by hundreds of millions of Americans, and a message from them could rally new opposition to the FCC plan. Whether talking about AT&T's decision to block Facetime to drive users to more expensive plans, or its use of zero rating to hamstring streaming competitors, AT&T's frontal assault on a healthy, open internet is utterly indisputable.

"If a new company can't access companies on the same terms as the incumbent's they're not going to have the chance to thrive".

Other participants in the day of action include Amazon, Etsy, Mozilla, Kickstarter, Netflix, Reddit, Vimeo, Fight for the Future, Center for Media Justice, Free Press, and Demand Justice, among others.

Groups like the Internet Association, a Washington trade group representing internet companies like Netflix, Amazon and Facebook, dispute the FCC and broadband companies' numbers and say net neutrality hasn't depressed broadband investment.

The proposals at hand would roll back the Open Internet Order, an Obama-era policy that included a section largely credited with maintaining net neutrality.

"Internet service providers could create special fast lanes for content providers willing to pay more", said Corey Price, vice president of PornHub. As of now, ISPs can not charge more for, block, or slow down users' access to streaming services regardless of which companies might own those services or sites.

When the initial commenting period closes July 17, the second commenting period begins, to give the public a chance to respond to the initial comments.

"Title II is not net neutrality", senior executive Vice President David L. Cohen wrote. "The Internet has given more people a voice than ever before, and that transformative power is worth fighting for, July 12 we will come together to defend the future of free speech".

The heart of net neutrality is a guarantee of equal access to all internet traffic.

What's your take on net neutrality? But if neither of these things apply to you, then you can show your support tomorrow by paying attention to everything people are saying about net neutrality and sharing the stuff that matters to you most.

Without an open internet, "many businesses, including ours, could be negatively impacted", said Kevin Goldsmith, chief technology officer of online legal marketplace Avvo. You can find out more about the fight against repealing net neutrality here.

Critics of net neutrality rules have argued that some such paid-prioritization deals might, in fact, serve the users best - and that the FCC's approach shouldn't be definitive and prescriptive. Here's everything you should know about Wednesday's "day of action".

"If they discriminated, kind of like AT&T is doing now with DirecTV - favoring their own service under a data cap - that's not reasonable, that's anti-competitive", said Gigi Sohn in a phone interview Tuesday. On that day, numerous web's most popular and most-visited sites will display banners, be "blacked out", or promote a neutral web in other ways.