Many of the biggest companies on the internet — Netflix, Reddit and Tumblr among them — had a strange banner about net neutrality on their pages yesterday. The lagging circle warned users that their internet access is at stake as the Federal Communications Commission nears a controversial ruling that would allow some sites to access a “fast lane” for quicker net service, while leaving others in the dust, reported The Huffington Post.
Evan Greer, a director at one of the net neutrality protest’s organizers Fight for the Future, succinctly explained the motivation behind the protests.
“The Internet is slow enough already. Our goal is to prevent that from continuing.”
Public comment on the net neutrality bill will last until Sept. 15, but Wednesday brought a barrage of complaints against local Congressmen — to the tune of 1,000 calls per minute according to Time. In fact, the Federal Communications Commission has reported that it is the most public interaction — nearly 1.4 million complaints — that they have ever received on a ruling in the organization’s history. Net neutrality advocates like Evan Engstrom, policy director at Engine, argued that the proposed policies go against the very philosophy of the internet.
“It’s encouraging to see so many prominent companies participating in the day of action in support of an open Internet. The FCC needs to know that preserving strong net neutrality rules is necessary to ensure that the Internet remains a platform for innovation and economic growth.”
Several news outlets and protest participants released material explaining the complicated ideas behind net neutrality yesterday, including an in-depth piece from TechDirt. Vimeo also released an informational video that explains to users how net neutrality may negatively impact their internet experience.
Comcast, who has become the whipping boy for the net neutrality debate, is hoping that its $45.2 billion merger with Time Warner Cable will be approved by the FCC and Justice Department within the coming months. While net neutrality advocates scoff at Comcast’s attempts to retroactively side with their cause by avoiding its true definition, David Cohen, a Comcast senior vice president, released a press release following the day of net neutrality protests distancing the telecom provider from the dark side of the debate.
“We want you to know that Comcast has no desire to break the Internet – or to do anything else to disturb its fundamental openness. We support maintaining an open Internet, and a role for the FCC ensuring that.”
Along with Netflix, Reddit, Tumblr and other companies participating in the protests, net neutrality supporters across the United States expressed solidarity through Twitter and Facebook, along with the wave of calls to their local representatives.
15 yr old daughter tonight: "did you hear about #netneutrality decison? It's all over tumblr. Can I sign the petition?" So proud.
— Michael B. Johnson (@drwave) September 11, 2014
[Image via Flickr]