With net neutrality on the chopping block, web companies and activists have once again banded together in its support. On July 12th, over 200 groups — from Kickstarter and Etsy, to Vimeo and Netflix, to Pornhub and High Times — updated their websites with statements, banners, and spinning wheels to tell their visitors about the troubles that could come with an internet free from net neutrality rules.
Not sure where to start? Read this first:
Dec 13, 2017
The president and CEO of the trade group that lobbies for the ISPs that are trying to end net neutrality would like everyone to just chill. In an op-ed published at Recode, former FCC chairman and NCTA head Michael Powell argues that things will be just fine “no matter what happens to net neutrality.”Read Article >
It’s disappointing to see such easily refuted arguments being made by current and former FCC chairmen, but I’m always ready to address them. Let’s take a stroll through Powell’s editorial.
Aug 31, 2017
After months of debate, protests, and disruptions, the FCC’s comment period on its proposal to kill net neutrality is now over. The commission stopped accepting comments at midnight Eastern time last night, closing out with nearly 22 million total replies — setting an immense new record. The FCC’s previous comment record was just 3.7 million, set during the last net neutrality proceeding.Read Article >
But the process of receiving all those comments was far from smooth this time around. The FCC’s website is fairly confusing. It’s also, apparently, susceptible to spam and other attacks, which we saw at multiple points across the past four months.
Jul 18, 2017
Yesterday, Comcast filed its comments in favor of the FCC’s plan to eliminate the 2015 net neutrality rules. While much of the document was devoted to arguments we’ve heard before — Comcast believes the current rules are anti-competitive and hurt investment, but generally supports the principles of net neutrality — one statement stood out.Read Article >
Buried in the 161-page document was this quirky assertion (emphasis ours):
If you weren’t paying close attention yesterday, it may have looked like AT&T got onboard the net neutrality “day of action” protest. The company’s website displayed a banner saying that “AT&T supports an open internet,” and it sent a message to DirecTV customers mentioning the same thing. “Tell Congress to adopt permanent protections,” both messages added, before directing people to an “Open Internet” page on AT&T’s site.Read Article >
But while that page might look like other pro-net neutrality sites at first glance, it’s far from it. AT&T is carefully wording around the fact that it’s opposed to the net neutrality order that activists are fighting for. What’s worse: it’s trying to get people to send an email to legislators and the FCC that pushes its own agenda, while masquerading as something in support of the same cause yesterday’s protest was about.
Net neutrality is meant to prevent internet giants like Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T from wielding their huge networks as weapons to suppress competition from web companies like Netflix, Dropbox, and even sources of news. While those large ISPs account for the vast majority of US internet subscribers, there are thousands of other internet providers out there that don’t have that kind of power. And though they’re small, they’ve played an outsized role in the net neutrality debate.Read Article >
In April, 22 small cable providers signed a letter to the Federal Communications Commission asking for the end of net neutrality, writing that the policy imposed “onerous burdens” on their businesses. FCC chairman Ajit Pai has latched onto this. Since he was named chairman in January, he’s been touting the damage net neutrality could do to regional and “mom and pop” internet providers, and he cited this letter as proof when announcing plans to reverse net neutrality and its classification of internet providers under a legal statute known as Title II.
Reddit has been one of the most prominent companies in digital advocacy, organizing to defeat SOPA in 2012 and to defend net neutrality in 2014. As the internet rallies for today’s pro-net neutrality protest, Reddit has organized Ask Me Anything sessions around the issue, and the company announced in a blog post that it will be making the company’s first “official” trip to DC next month to meet with lawmakers.Read Article >
“The Reddit company just hasn’t been in a place to do it,” co-founder Alexis Ohanian said in an interview today with The Verge. The company, he says, has now staffed up its policy team for coordinated lobbying, building relationships with lawmakers to push the issues the company cares about, like net neutrality.
Jul 12, 2017
Companies and organizations that rely on an open internet rallied on Wednesday for a “day of action” on net neutrality, and America’s biggest internet service providers have responded with arrogance and contempt for their customers. Comcast’s David Cohen called arguments in favor of FCC regulation “scare tactics” and “hysteria.” Beyond the dismissive rhetoric, ISPs are coincidentally united today in calling for Congress to act — and that’s because they’ve paid handsomely to control what Congress does.Read Article >
There’s one thing Republicans and Democrats can agree on, and that’s taking money from ISPs. The telecommunications industry was the most powerful lobbying force of the 20th century, and that power endures. It’s no secret that lobbyists in Washington write many of the laws, and the telecom industry spends a lot of money to make sure lawmakers use them. We’ve already seen net neutrality legislation written by the ISPs, and it’s filled with loopholes. It’s not just in Congress — companies like AT&T have deep influence over local and state broadband laws, and write those policies, too.
Today, some of the world’s biggest internet companies and activist groups are coming together to protest the FCC’s proposed rollback of net neutrality protections. Google, Twitter, and Reddit have weighed in, as have groups like Mozilla and the ACLU.Read Article >
The complete tally of groups and people involved in the protest, organized by activist group Fight for the Future, is massive, so any list will necessarily be incomplete. But here is a look at several of the most noteworthy — messages of support from the biggest players, creative displays from smaller upstarts, and some odder entries in the internet’s net neutrality “day of action.”
Jul 12, 2017
FCC chairman Ajit Pai is fond of saying that “the internet was not broken in 2015” when he argues for repeal of our nation’s net neutrality rules. This is particularly funny to me, because in 2014 I literally wrote an article called “The internet is fucked.”Read Article >
Why was it fucked? Because the free and open internet was in danger of becoming tightly controlled by giant telecom corporations that were already doing things like blocking apps and services from phones and excusing their own services from data caps. Because the lack of competition in the internet access market let these companies act like predatory monopolies. And because our government lacked the will or clarity to just say what everyone already knows: internet access is a utility.
Jul 12, 2017
Technology giants like Amazon, Spotify, Reddit, Facebook, Google, Twitter, and many others are rallying today in a so-called “day of action” in support of net neutrality, five days ahead of the first deadline for comments on the US Federal Communications Commission’s planned rollback of the rules.Read Article >
In a move that’s equal parts infuriating and exasperating, Ajit Pai, the FCC’s new chairman appointed by President Trump, wants to scrap the open internet protections installed in 2015 under the Obama administration. Those consumer protections mean providers such as AT&T, Charter, Comcast, and Verizon are prevented from blocking or slowing down access to the web.
Jul 11, 2017
AT&T is hardly a fan of net neutrality, at least as most people understand it. The company has been accused by the FCC of violating open internet protections, and has forcefully lobbied against the current rules. It’s even joined in lawsuits to block them.Read Article >
Nonetheless, AT&T said in a statement today that it is participating in tomorrow’s net neutrality “day of action.” The protest, which will include major tech companies and nonprofit groups, was organized as a reaction to the current FCC’s attempt to roll back consumer net neutrality protections put in place under the Obama-era FCC.
Jul 7, 2017
Facebook and Google have confirmed their participation in a wide-scale net neutrality protest scheduled for July 12th, according to Fortune. The protest is being called the “Internet-wide Day of Action to Save Net Neutrality,” or “Day of Action” and “Battle for the Net” for short. It’s designed to be an illustrative example of the breadth and magnitude of opposition to the Federal Communication Commission’s recent regulatory behavior (or lack thereof) that open internet advocates fear could roll back years of legislative progress, in a fashion similar to the SOPA and PIPA protests of 2012.Read Article >
It’s unclear how Facebook or Google plan to participate. However, a number of other tech companies have also confirmed their support, including Amazon, Netflix, Reddit, Mozilla, Kickstarter, and Spotify. “Websites, Internet users, and online communities will come together to sound the alarm about the FCC’s attack on net neutrality,” reads the protest’s official website. “We'll provide tools for everyone to make it super easy for your followers / visitors to take action. From the SOPA blackout to the Internet Slowdown, we've shown time and time again that when the Internet comes together, we can stop censorship and corruption.”
Jun 15, 2017
After a few months of wishy-washy statements on net neutrality indicating that the company had largely given up on it, Netflix is changing course. In a tweet today, the company wrote: “Netflix will never outgrow the fight for #NetNeutrality. Everyone deserves an open Internet.” It also linked to the Battle for the Net campaign, indicating that Netflix had signed on to take action.Read Article >
This is a big change of direction for Netflix. Though the company was one of the most staunch net neutrality advocates back in 2014 — during the last fight over net neutrality — it hasn’t cared quite as much this time around. In March, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings told The Verge that he’s “not too worried” about what’ll become of net neutrality because it didn’t pose a big risk to his company. And just a couple weeks ago, Hastings told Recode that net neutrality is “not our primary battle at this point.”
Jun 6, 2017
Major tech companies and nonprofit groups have signed on to a “day of action” next month to protest the FCC’s planned rollback of net neutrality rules.Read Article >
Organized by nonprofit group Fight for the Future, the protest will include Amazon, Etsy, Reddit, Mozilla, the ACLU, and several others, who have all agreed to show their support for net neutrality on July 12th. In 2014, a similar list of companies agreed to post banners on their websites showing support for regulation.