Mark your calendars. The ‘Day of Action’ online protest may be your last chance to save net neutrality.
Elections matter. And everyone who uses the internet is going to pay ‘bigly’ for the last one. The Trump administration is in the process of selling out consumers with a double-whammy; ending net neutrality and turning more ISP’s into monopolies.
When the Trump administration replaced FCC boss Tom Wheeler with former Verizon attorney Ajit Pai, it was yet another sign that all the talk Trump spewed on the campaign trail about protecting the middle class was yet another deception. Since his appointment, Pai, the epitome of swamp-dweller, has been on a mission to serve his corporate masters and make American consumers pay for it. At the top of his agenda is dismantling net neutrality; the rules that keep ISP’s from creating ‘fast lanes’ to steer web traffic to sites that are willing and able to pay more for it. Call it censorship, bribery, or whatever else you want, no matter how you look at it, it turns a level playing field into a crooked one.
Last week at a town hall in Virginia, Wheeler blasted Pai for his plan to repeal net neutrality rules, and help ISP’s abuse their customers with an unobstructed path to creating monopolies.
According to DSL Reports,
Former FCC Boss Tom Wheeler isn’t particularly impressed with his replacement at the FCC (Ajit Pai), and says the former Verizon lawyer has one real goal in removing net neutrality protections: making life easier on uncompetitive broadband monopolies.
“When you’ve only got one provider, who makes the rules? The provider makes the rules,” Wheeler said.
However, Pai’s plan to serve his corporate masters goes even further by including the repeal of consumer protections.
From Ars Technica,
Wheeler said, “The question becomes, will giant companies be able to exploit their monopoly position?” Who is going to stand up for consumers? Who is going to stand up for innovation? And who is going to stand up for the most important network for determining our future in the 21st century?”
Pai appears determined to ignore the public comments that support keeping net neutrality rules and consumer protections unless he’s stopped by a deafening public outcry.
With the clock ticking, some who want to keep a free and open internet are headed to courtrooms. The Hill reports that the National Hispanic Media Coalition filed a motion on July 7, hoping they can at least delay the FCC’s move to undo net neutrality rules. But the fight doesn’t end there.
The push-back against turning the Internet into a pay-for-play scheme has also pitted ISP’s and the FCC against some of the most well-known companies on the planet. And according to Government Technology, they’re not going down without a fight.
A coalition of tech companies and public advocacy groups will hold a “Day of Action” next week to encourage supporters to fight for net neutrality.
More than 180 organizations and companies, including tech giants Google, Facebook, and Amazon, will join the online protest July 12, in advance of the Federal Communications Commission considering a proposal to roll back net neutrality regulations adopted during the Obama administration.
Pai claims that net neutrality rules are a ‘big government’ boogeyman that is hurting companies like Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon (Pai’s former employer). Perhaps not by coincidence, those companies stand to profit from FCC deregulation and have been leading the charge to eliminate net neutrality rules with big money lobbying for years.
The last day of the initial public comment period ends July 17, and so far, there have been more than 5 million comments. If the ‘Day of Action’ is a success, there may yet be hope to keep the FCC from handing the internet over to ISP lobbyists.
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