LOS ANGELES – Protesters rallyed Tuesday eveningin front of the Los Angeles Federal Building to save net neutrality – and protect a free, open internet.
The Federal Communications Commission is set to vote on a proposal from its chairman to roll back rules that force internet service providers (ISPs) to offer the same internet speed to all sites.
Carlos Marroquin, one of the event’s organizers, says the change would give too much power to the service providers, who will be able to charge large website owners big bucks to make that site load faster – something of a toll-road system that puts small business, personal and nonprofit sites at a big disadvantage.
“They will purposely be able to slow things down, especially if it is against their corporate agenda,” he warns.
President Donald Trump’s FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, who used to be an attorney for Verizon, argues that the current net-neutrality rules that classify the ISPs as a utility subject them to unnecessary, onerous regulations.
The FCC’s vote is set for December 14th. Hundreds of protests are planned between now and then, including dozens in California, many in front of Verizon stores. You can find out more at verizonprotests.com.
Verizon has pledged not to discriminate. But Marroquin says he fears that ISPs could make it difficult for political activists to marshal their forces into action.
“That is contrary to freedom of speech,” he says. “If you have providers that are friendly to a political party that usually sides with corporate America, they may actually block certain information to undermine democracy. We would be targeted to slow down our sites.”