Netflix, Amazon, Google, Facebook and other major online companies have thrown their support behind net neutrality once again, ahead of a “Day of Action” set for July 12th.
The move comes following a proposal by former-Verizon lawyer and current FCC chairman Ajit Pai to roll back Obama-era protections around Net Neutrality.
These protections, passed in, prevent Internet service providers (ISPs) from blocking or throttling legal content users sought to access, as well as preventing ISPs from accepting payment to prioritize data from one company over another.
Pai has said that “we propose to repeal utility-style regulation of the Internet. We propose to return to the Clinton-era light-touch framework that has proven to be successful,” arguing that leaving the industry to police itself makes ‘economic’ sense.
“The more heavily you regulate something, the less of it you’re likely to get,” he says.
However, the proposal has been met with heavy opposition from within the industry.
The list of companies pledged to support the day of action through blackouts and user-alerts about the FCCs efforts to revoke the protections is nothing if not exhaustive. Over 200 major media companies are represented, from Imgur to Twitter to Pinterest to Reddit to Pornhub.
Local Australian start-up Atlassian is even represented.
Evan Greer, campaign director at Fight for the Future, says that “Net neutrality rules prevent big cable and telephone companies from engaging in a digital version of this type of extortion. It’s what stops internet service providers like Comcast and AT&T from threatening to make small businesses’ websites slow and unusable unless they pay special fees — or from shaking down internet users for more money to access the content we want.”
“If you get rid of Title II — the legal framework for net neutrality — it would be a disaster for the economy and give a small group of powerful businesses an unprecedented control over everything we do on the internet.”
Regardless, Pai remains confident.
In April, he told The New York Times that “Make no mistake about it: This is a fight that we intend to wage and it is a fight that we are going to win.”
More information about the day of action can be found here.