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Published: Sat, July 15, 2017
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Proposed changes to United States net neutrality rules unacceptable to tech firms

Proposed changes to United States net neutrality rules unacceptable to tech firms

The list of sites and apps participating has grown so quickly it's nearly impossible to keep up, but participants include Automattic (Wordpress), eBay, Rosetta Stone, Pinterest, Amazon, Mozilla, Netflix, Etsy, Kickstarter, Soundcloud, Dropbox, Spotify, Redfin, Facebook, Google, Snapchat, Medium, Y Combinator, GitHub, Pantheon, Opera, Bittorrent Inc., Shapeways, Nextdoor, Stack Overflow, Funny Or Die, Dreamhost, and CREDO Mobile, Goldenfrog, Fark, Chess.com, Namecheap, DuckDuckGo, Checkout.com, Sonic, Ting, ProtonMail, O'Reilly Media, SlashDot, Dribble, Dischord, SourceForge, and Union Square Ventures.

"The FCC needs to listen to the public, not just lobbyists from big cable companies". Hundreds of others are participating.

The vote reclassified wireless and fixed-line broadband service providers as Title II "common carriers", a public utility-type designation that gives the FCC the ability to set rates, open up access to competitors and more closely regulate the industry.

MCEVERS: So what FCC rules would be going away?

Net neutrality is something gamers should care about. Rather than keeping the current rules in place, Quinn suggested that Congress should pass bipartisan legislation to "provide the clear statutory authority that guarantees an open internet for all consumers".

MCEVERS: Why are Internet companies and advocacy groups so upset?

Net neutrality is a principle about fairness on the internet.

"We will not let this takeover happen", Markey said.

The new FCC chairman argues that the 2015 rules were established on "hypothetical harms and hysterical prophecies of doom" and that they are generally bad for business.

And there's this third kind of element which has this wonky name of paid prioritization.

That hasn't worked out well for consumers so far: during negotiations with Netflix in 2014, Comcast and Verizon throttled streaming speeds by up to 30% on average - until Netflix chose to cough up cash through "paid prioritization" deals.

Not all Internet providers are against the rules. The company also changed their logo to add a "spinning wheel of death", signifying the slow access that users could experience if the FCC rolls back the regulations. Ajit Pai's plan to undermine net neutrality and stifle online speech would endanger these ways we use the internet, and could even make it harder - or impossible - to organize protests like today's. Is this the crux of it? 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.

Two years on and Trump's new FCC chairman Ajit Pai, a former Verizon lawyer, has pushed to overturn the 2015 order.

"Knowing that the arc of success is bent in our favor and we are on the right side of history, I remain committed to doing everything I can to protect the most empowering and inclusive platform of our time".

"When you look at the major ISP's they have not broken their necks to get into those areas". They have vast Internet reach.

The sites will display a variety of messages, or simulate the potential effects of losing the basic principle of all internet traffic being treated equally. Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg posted about it from their Facebook accounts. Lots and lots of organizations are mobilizing. "At Facebook, we strongly support those rules". "The internet has been such an awesome sharing of information and I don't want that to change", said Kansas City, Missouri Resident Andrenna Taylor.

The public has until mid-August to send comments to the FCC before the final vote.

More than 550,000 comments have been filed in the last day with the FCC and more than 6.3 million filed to date and thousands of people called Capitol Hill offices to express concerns.

MCEVERS: That's NPR's Alina Selyukh.

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