Leading companies and organisations, the likes of Amazon, Mozilla and Vimeo among hundreds of others are leading the fightback against the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) by calling for an “Internet-Wide Day of Action to Save Net Neutrality” scheduled for 12 July 2017.
The FCC decided after a vote last May to roll back the 2015 Open Internet Order by slashing 'Title II', the legal framework for net neutrality rules that protect online free speech and innovation. Ajit Pai, the chairman of the FCC had pledged in a speech last December to take a “weed whacker” to rules that regulate internet service providers like any other companies providing utilities, the same as water or electricity.
Evan Greer, campaign director of Fight for the Future, a non-profit organisation said, “The Internet has given more people a voice than ever before, and we’re not going to let the FCC take that power away from us. Massive online mobilisation got us the strong net neutrality protections that we have now, and we intend to fight tooth and nail to defend them.” Alongside Amazon, the day of action is being backed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), American Library Association, Center for Media Justice, Greenpeace, Organizing For Action and many others.
Internet Service Providers in the U.S. like Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon are all for the FCC's decision in this case as they claim it would discourage investment and innovation. The FCC who are open to public comments regarding the decision until mid-August went on an initial vote on 18 May where it was decided that it would go ahead.
The attack against the decision is also one that Americans of varied political affiliations, the Democrats, Republicans and Independents largely agree on. Based on a public opinion poll carried out by Mozilla and global market research specialists, Ipsos revealed an overwhelming support across party lines for net neutrality, with over 76 percent of Americans supporting net neutrality. Eighty-one percent of Democrats and seventy-three percent of Republicans are in favour of it.
Earlier in May, television host, John Oliver urged viewers on his show “Last Week Tonight” to file electronic comments with the FCC opposing the plan unveiled by Ajit Pai to reverse rules implemented under President Barack Obama. The response to Oliver's remarks was overwhelming forcing the FCC website to crash the very next day.