All across the internet today, major companies are rallying in support for net neutrality.
Today is marked as a “Day of Action” across the internet. The Day of Action has several major organizations participating in a wide-scale online protest against the current plans to eliminate Net Neutrality measures from Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the United States.
The current rules regarding Net Neutrality were passed in the U.S in 2015. They prevent broadband companies from favoring their own content over a competitor’s service, as well as preventing said companies from charging fees for faster internet service. The elimination of Net Neutrality regulations would effectively give the cable companies more control over what people can see and do online.
The Obama administration, which penned the current rules on Net Neutrality, changed the classification of broadband, effectively protecting it as a public utility under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934. This means that broadband providers cannot block or slow down traffic on wired and wireless networks, nor can ISP’s offer “paid priority services” that could allow them to charge content companies such as Netflix, access to faster connections.
The current FCC Chairman Ajit Pai recently introduced a proposal that would remove the classification, in turn removing the protections granted under a public utility. The fear by many activists and companies is that the rollback of these rules could pave the way for more control by broadband companies, and the introductions of regulations that go against the core ideals of Net Neutrality.
Many well-known companies have taken a stand today as a form of protest against the proposal, five days before public online comments will be closed. The companies include internet fixtures such as Facebook, Twitter and Google, who have even written impassioned pleas to encourage people to stand up and make their voices heard. Other companies have taken another route to simulate what the internet may be like if the current regulations are revoked. Reddit, in particular, has several different tactics being utilized, from obnoxious ads telling people to upgrade their bandwidth, while popups occur at random detailing why people should be for Net Neutrality. Other websites, such as Netflix and Twitch, have posted noticeable banners across their streams and homepages, to remind people to “stop Net Neutrality rules from being repealed.”
These are, of course, just some examples of protests. Hundreds of websites and well-known companies, both in tech and media, are pushing back today. Some broadband companies, such as AT&T, are also tentatively participating in the protests – AT&T is in favor the removal of the 2015 regulations but supports the FCC’s Open Internet Order of 2010. AT&T, like other broadband providers, finds the current regulations under Title II to be outdated and in the way of growth and innovation.
Whatever the case may be, the day of action will continue all day on July 12th, and people who wish to speak to the FCC directly can post comments on their page here. The FCC has made commenting difficult, however, but many websites such as The Verge offer detailed instructions here. There is also a letter you can use to send over on Battleforthenet.com.
What are your thoughts on the Day of Action? Leave your comments below.