Killing net neutrality rules is a march toward folly

The Net Neutrality protest in front of the Verizon Store near Bryant Park in NYC on December 7

"The technically incorrect proposed order dismantles 15 years of targeted oversight from both Republican and Democratic FCC chairs, who understood the threats that internet access providers could pose to open markets on the internet", the letter said.

A small group of protesters rally against a plan to kill net neutrality rules in Washington on December 7.

There are only three days left until the Federal Communications Commission votes on whether to repeal its network neutrality protections, the Obama-era rules that prevent internet providers from blocking and throttling connections to the internet or charging websites to access users.

Verizon stores were chosen as the sites of protest because Ajit Pai, who was a former lawyer for Verizon, was appointed by Trump to lead the FCC.

1 Washington Forum essay, "No, the FCC is not killing the Internet", Federal Communications Commission commissioner Brendan Carr argued that alarm over net neutrality repeal is overblown because the FCC's "Restoring Internet Freedom" order, scheduled for a vote on Thursday, simply returns the Internet to the way the FCC used to treat it.

World Wide Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak were among the 21 signatories of a letter addressed to politicians who said the upcoming vote was, "based on a flawed and factually inaccurate understanding" of the internet. His plan is likely to pass because the five-member FCC is majority Republican and averse to regulation. NY attorney general Eric Schneiderman recently called the FCC to put off the vote due to these fake comments, claiming that over 1 million Americans had their identities falsely used on the forum.

Meanwhile, internet experts, pioneers and users are anxious about internet service providers losing oversight and possibly feeling emboldened to throttle, block and censor content and services.

In addition to this open letter, a second signed by musicians, actors and artists also calls on those in Congress to pressure the FCC not to move forward with the vote, planned for this Thursday, December 14.

Advocates are already bracing for legal action.

"Despite this comment, the FCC did not correct its misunderstandings, but instead premised the proposed Order on the very technical flaws the comment explained".

Sen. Schatz's office also did not respond to a request for comment, although a recent statement by the Hawaii lawmaker said the FCC chairman's plan would leave "the American people with fewer choices and less access".

The engineers and experts who penned the comment warned that repealing net neutrality could have "dangerous consequences, including stifling future innovation and depressing future investment in the wealth of Internet services that drive such a large part of the US economy".

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