NET-NEUTRALITY SUPPORTERS SAY RALLY IS FIRST SALVO
» Some of the web’s biggest names — Amazon, Google, Netflix and Twitter — joined thousands of smaller websites Wednesday in urging users to tell Washington to leave the internet the way it is.
On website banners, pop-up widgets, blog posts and videos, web companies said that could only be accomplished by keeping tough net neutrality rules for online traffic in place in the face of a push by Republicans and internet service providers to dismantle them.
Net neutrality supporters said the “day of action” was the first major salvo of what they promised would be a long battle involving the Federal Communications Commission, the courts and possible congressional legislation over the fate of the controversial rules.
“The Internet’s less fun when your favorite sites load slowly, isn’t it?” began a message that popped up on discussion forum site Reddit’s home page on Wednesday.
To highlight the fear that unleashed broadband providers could slow speeds for some content, the four-sentence message appeared one character at a time. It ended by urging people to “tell the FCC that you support the open Internet.”
Ajit Pai, the Republican FCC chairman, wants to repeal the agency’s Open Internet rules that were adopted when it was under Democratic control in 2015.
The FCC’s tough regulatory framework, opposed by internet service providers, is designed to ensure the unfettered flow of content.
The rules use utility-like oversight under Title 2 of the communications law to prohibit broadband companies from slowing speeds for video streams and other content, selling faster lanes for delivering data or otherwise discriminating against any legal online material.
“This is the beginning of an historic fight for the internet, and the people in our country are going to win against these broadband giants,” Sen. Edward J. Markey, DMass., said during a rally with other Democratic lawmakers outside the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday.