Nationwide Net Neutrality Protests Planned For Thursday

More than 600 demonstrations are planned at Verizon stores across the United States on Thursday amid the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) plan to kill net neutrality.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai made it clear last month that the FCC will vote on the fate of net neutrality on December 14 (see: FCC Unveils Plan To Roll Back Net Neutrality Rules). The rules currently prohibit internet service providers from charging extra fees, censorship and throttling website speeds.

The rollback is expected to pass the FCC vote next week. However, that is not stopping Demand Progress, Fight for the Future and the Freepress Action Fund who have formed the coalition called “Battle for the Net”.

Evan Greer, campaign director of Fight for the Future said in a statement: “This is the free speech fight of our generation and internet users are pissed off and paying attention. Ajit Pai may be owned by Verizon, but he has to answer to Congress, and lawmakers have to answer to us, their constituents.”

Common Dreams, a non-profit news-oriented website claims, since Pai revealed his plan to kill net neutrality rules back in mid-November, public outrage has continued to expand– despite the lack of coverage from major media outlets. Since the phone lines opened on November 21, more than 774,325 calls have flooded congressional phone lines.

On Thursday, Americans will take to the streets outside their local Verizon stores and congressional offices to protest against rolling back net neutrality, exactly one week ahead of the FCC’s planned vote.

Mark Stanley, director of communications for Demand Progress said, “With what would be a catastrophic vote by the FCC to repeal net neutrality looming, people are ready to take to the streets in protest and to offer Congress one last chance to answer the question: ‘Do you stand for your constituents’ ability to communicate and connect, or do you stand for Verizon’s bottom line?”

Verizon stores were chosen as the premiere site for the demonstrations because  FCC Chairman Ajit Pai previously was the company’s associate general counsel from 2001 to 2003.

Below is a list of websites, companies, and organizations who are defending net neutrality:

Here are the companies who want to end net neutrality:

Common Dreams said 27 senators including Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders have sent Pai a letter on Monday demanding the FCC to delay the vote. Also, 40 consumer protection groups have sent a letter to Pai asking for a delay as well.

Building on the outrage expressed by the American public, a group of 27 senators including Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) delivered a letter to Pai on Monday demanding that the FCC vote be delayed in the face of evidence that the public “record may be replete with fake or fraudulent comments, suggesting that your proposal is fundamentally flawed.”11

 

A coalition of over 40 consumer protection groups also called on the FCC to postpone its vote on repealing net neutrality in a letter to Pai on Monday, citing a pending court case that could ultimately “leave consumers at the mercy of internet service providers.”

The attempt seemed promising on Monday, but moments ago the FCC rejected all calls to delay the net neutrality vote, according to The Hill.

The FCC said in a statement Monday that “the vote will proceed as scheduled on December 14.”

In a separate statement provided to Ars Technica, the FCC hit back at those seeking a delay:

This is just evidence that supporters of heavy-handed Internet regulations are becoming more desperate by the day as their effort to defeat Chairman Pai’s plan to restore Internet freedom has stalled. 

With the delay thwarted just moments ago by the FCC, and over 600 demonstration sites planned at Verizon stores across the United States on Thursday. We ask: What could go possibly wrong?