Net Neutrality Advocates Prep for Day of Action on Wednesday

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Net neutrality advocates are preparing for a “day of action” on Wednesday to protest Federal Communication Commission plans to repeal net neutrality regulation. The protest will be supported by numerous internet companies, including Google, Amazon, Netflix, Reddit, Airbnb, Spotify and Twitter, which will display warnings about the risks of allowing ISPs to treat some websites and services differently than others.

The net neutrality advocacy site Battle for the Net says that cable companies, specifically Comcast, Verizon, Time Warner Cable, and AT&T, are seeking to “control what we see & do online,” and impose a “slow lane” on services which compete with those they offer or are affiliated with, in effect imposing a tax on consumers and stymying startups and innovation.

The Internet Association, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), and the Internet Infrastructure Coalition are among internet advocacy groups taking part in the protest. Web hosts and other service providers participating include DigitalOcean, DreamHost, Linode, and Weebly, along with developer community sites like Stack Overflow and GitHub.

The protest will consist largely of messages presented to website visitors warning them of potential ramifications of repealing the regulations which classify broadband internet service as a utility under “Title II.”

U.S. Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) have written a letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, asking the FCC to ensure that its comment system will remain online during the protest.

“The FCC must be able to accept all comments filed to ensure that all voices are heard,” the senators’ wrote, invoking the collapse in May of the FCC’s Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS). The Commission blamed the disruption on a “non-traditional DDoS attack” after late-night television host John Oliver urged viewers to provide feedback, and provided a shortcut through the byzantine website to the relevant comment page.

Shortly after that incident, the FCC took the first step in the repeal process, in a 2-1 vote along party lines. Since then the White House has nominated Jessica Rosenworcel, a Democrat and former FCC commissioner, and Brendan Carr, a Republican and former aid to Pai, to fill the two vacancies on the commission.

According to survey results released in June by Mozilla and Ipsos, 81 percent of Democrats and 73 percent of Republicans support net neutrality.

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