The US Federal Communications Commission is accepting public comments on its proposed changes to net neutrality regulations until mid-August.
That’s not stopping the advocates from rallying around the current protections.
There’s a Twitter day of action scheduled for July 12 in support of the current regulations and in opposition to the proposed changes.
Others participating in the day of action are Amazon, Netflix, Vimeo, Etsy, Kickstarter, Reddit, Twitter, Medium, Soundcloud and others.
“This protest is gaining so much momentum because no one wants their cable company to charge them extra fees or have the power to control what they can see and do on the internet,” said Evan Greer with Fight for the Future, an advocacy group, outspoken supporter of net neutrality and the event’s organizer. “Congress and the FCC need to listen to the public, not just lobbyists. The goal of this day of action is to make them listen.”
Additionally, words are flying fast and furious around DC.
Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has entered for public comment and published on her website a scathing letter in support of net neutrality.
FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai says he’s a supporter of the open internet but his actions don’t match that, she says. “It is my understanding that you are concerned that Title II might chill investment in broadband deployment. We share the goal that every American should have choices for broadband internet access. But when two-thirds of Americans have at most one ‘choice’ of high-speed broadband provider at their home, I’m disappointed that the FCC is instead working to undo net neutrality. The record shows that the Title II legal framework for net neutrality promoted a ‘virtuous circle’—where broadband providers continued to invest in order to deliver faster speeds to customers and innovators on the edge continued to come up with apps and services that encouraged people buy those faster connections.”
She points to testimony from AT&T’s CEO in December 2015 which stated the company would be expanding, not retracting or restricting, its broadband service. At the same time, Charter’s CEO told investors that Title II classifications and protections under net neutrality “didn’t really hurt us.”
Further, she was “dismayed to learn you are likely to disregard the millions of public comments filed in the record…You have made confusing statements that you will both give less weight to comments that are not of sufficient quality and that you will err on the side of including suspicious comments in the agency’s deliberation, even when dozens among a particular batch of comments have sworn that their name and address were used fraudulently.” She asks for a review of these inaccurate statements.
“The internet has become our public square, our newspaper, our megaphone,” says Corynne McSherry, legal direct of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, another outspoken net neutrality supporter. The vast majority of Americans – seven in 10—use at least one social media networking service, with Facebook tallying 1.79 billion monthly users in addition to the 310 million active Twitter users (and their 500 million daily messages), 600 million on Instagram and 100 million daily Snapchat users, to say nothing of Wikipedia, the Internet Archive, news outlet and other resources available online.
“The internet was built on the simple but powerful idea that while you may need to pay a service provider for internet access, that provider doesn’t get to shape what you access—or who has access to you,” McSherry writes, calling on supporters to use the power of the internet to protect its openness.
The public comment period is open through August 17. This is gonna be fun.
Editor’s note: Look for a full recap of the US’s net neutrality regulations, where it’s been, where it stands and what’s being proposed, when Geeks & Beats returns on July 5!