UPDATE: Internet girds for 'Day of Action', but net neutrality repeal seems certain
UPDATE: Following Wednesday’s "Day of Action," Internet Service Providers (ISPs) voiced their stance on the neutrality rollback, according to The Verge. While Comcast labeled the event as "hysteria" other providers like Verizon and AT&T seemed to stand with protesters asking Congress to pass permanent regulatory legislation and demolishing Federal Communications Commission (FCC) involvement.
- Demand Progress, Internet Association and Free Press and other major tech companies are lining up to make "Day of Action" an opportunity to refute the rollback of net neutrality. As video providers are predicted to be most impacted by the reversal, Netflix, Amazon and Facebook are among the major companies protesting the deregulation, according to Wired.
- The 187 participating protesting websites, through Battle for the Net, instructed users through web and app alerts to contact the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to protest. Internet service providers (ISPs) could be granted freedom to block or slow sites, complicate streaming capabilities or charge for certain content.
- The FCC already has the votes needed to pass the rollback but the comment period remains open until July 17th. While the repeal appears likely, the "Day of Action" is reflective of 2014's successful "Internet Slowdown Day" protest that took place in favor of net neutrality regulations which resulted in the current legislation a year later.
Net neutrality prevents ISPs' ability to "block or take payment for prioritized internet traffic" and imposes Federal Trade Commission (FTC) consequences when a violation occurs. Despite ISPs' claims to remain neutral, protesters fear the repeal could impede on the freedom of an open internet.
ISPs that could potentially benefit from the repeal include Verizon, Comcast and Charter with charging customers and essentially controlling the content accessible through their network. Without regulations smaller providers could be unable to compete with the giant companies. Despite previously agreeing with Pai, Recode reports AT&T will take the stance of sites like Google, Vimeo, Spotify and Twitter.
Even with the repeal seemingly inevitable, the hawkish stance the online community is taking will likely motivate ISPs to uphold the voluntary decision to remain neutral and that might be considered a win for those in favor of net neutrality.
It's been apparent since Trump appointed FCC chairman Ajit Pai that repeal of the 2015 Obama-era regulation was in the works. Pai's argument is that regulations infringe on ISPs ability to grow in an industry capable of conducting itself without federal interference.