Tech firms join forces in support of net neutrality

by Susie Olson July 13, 2017, 0:38
Tech firms join forces in support of net neutrality

"Right now, when you pay your internet service provider, you're paying for access to the entire internet".

Tech giants such as Amazon, Netflix and Facebook are joining in with a host of activists, free speech groups and more in a day of protest against the Trump administration's plans to roll back rules on "net neutrality".

Rules passed in 2015 by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), a US-based regulator, suggests heavy regulation is required to "prevent ISPs from artificially directing customers to sites and applications they control or with whom they share special business relationships", adds the website. Many of these services have created their own form of protest, such as Reddit's slow loading logo that demonstrates the speed restrictions that outlawing net neutrality could bring. Without net neutrality, the internet could get a lot more expensive.

Supporters of net neutrality are today urging Internet users to send comments to the FCC to tell the agency that its plan to reverse the nation's net neutrality rules is wrong and unfair.

AT&T says it supports an "open internet" and believes companies shouldn't block web content or slow down videos from other providers.

The US communications regulator FCC voted to overturn rules implemented during Barack Obama's presidency which forbade internet service providers (ISPs) from favouring certain services over others past year.

According to Battle for the Net there are thousands of websites involved in the protest, including heavyweights such as Google, AirBnB, Twitter and Snapchat.

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Evan Greer, campaign director of Fight For the Future, the not-for-profit group organizing the day of action, said the protest came at a critical moment for the internet.

Some of the world's largest internet companies are taking part in a day of protest against changes that say will affect net neutrality - but what is net neutrality and should United Kingdom citizens be concerned?

Opponents, like internet providers, say there is no such thing as a neutral internet anyways, and that prices of resources should reflect their value, as they do in most markets.

Meanwhile, Bob Quinn, the senior vice president of legislative and external affairs at AT&T argues that the communications firm is in favor of the foundational elements of net neutrality and the company claims that the current rules are not cumbersome and other cable companies have presented similar arguments.

This has prompted a 90-day period in which members of the public can comment on the proposed rules up until July 17. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has said regulation of ISPs as utilities hampers innovation and investment. "Net Neutrality needs your help".

The FCC must reply to comments by August 16 before a final vote later in the year.

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