San Francisco Mayor Joins Fight To Save Net Neutrality

Friday, 14 Jul, 2017

Broad participation from every corner of the Internet: from online gaming communities to librarians to real estate sites to grassroots organizations to independent musicians. Hundreds of others are participating. NPR tech reporter Alina Selyukh is here to tell us all about it.

But Trump's FCC, with Pai at the helm, wants to repeal the rules. But by the afternoon, the site's most popular "all"; "hot"; and "new" pages did not have any posts about Net Neutrality.

If the FCC decides to relax it's rules with broadband companies, those companies can decide which to let load quickly, like say your their own streaming sites, or which traffic to slow down. That principle has been around for a decade.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a posting to his followers that Facebook "strongly" supports the current rules but also is "open to working with members of Congress" on new legislation to protect net neutrality, something Republicans have sought in recent years but haven't achieved because of partisan strife.

Mozilla, the maker of Firefox, uploaded a nine-hour video with a narrator reading more than 40,000 pro-net neutrality messages the company has received, in a soothing voice.

SELYUKH: Well, so it has to do with the specifics of the rules. The principal was affirmed by the Federal Communications Commission in 2015 when it implemented regulations barring internet service providers from giving faster access to certain websites and blocking or slowing down access for others.

When numerous firms went "dark" in opposition to the Stop Online Piracy Act, which they argued was a threat to free speech, it led to the bill being withdrawn.

And there's this third kind of element which has this wonky name of paid prioritization. It means that cable ISPs such as Comcast, AT&T or Verizon don't get to choose which data is sent more quickly and which sites get blocked or throttled based on which content providers pay a premium.

Not all Internet providers are against the rules.

"Thanks in part to net neutrality, the open internet has grown to become an unrivaled source of choice, competition, innovation, free expression, and opportunity".

MCEVERS: OK, so when we hear about net neutrality and the debate, is this it? Nothing here is ever simple. They put them in a similar category as the traditional telephone companies so they could be really tightly overseen. For instance, some smaller providers are supportive of the regulations.

FCC chairman Ajit Pai first announced the proposal in April.

This year's online protest is more muted. Here's what you need to know.

SELYUKH: Well, there are a lot of participants. "The day of action isn't created to educate consumers about sensible policies, rather its goal is to scare them into thinking their internet experience will somehow suddenly be degraded if the FCC restores light touch regulation, " said the NCTA, a cable trade group, in a blog post. Amazon had a little ad. Reddit displayed a digital message. Netflix added a narrow banner to the top of its webpage. Both senators support the embattled rule. "The internet has been such an wonderful sharing of information and I don't want that to change", said Kansas City, Missouri Resident Andrenna Taylor.

According to Fight for the Future, one of the primary organisers of the online protest, over 1.6 million comments have been sent out to the FCC and over three million emails and phone calls were made to the Congress. Democratic senators Ron Wyden, of OR, and Brian Schatz, of Hawaii, on Monday asked the FCC to ensure its computer system is prepared to withstand the expected surge of comments.