Tech giants unite against proposed changes to net neutrality

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It's great to see big internet companies - many of which wouldn't have existed if not for net neutrality - to take a part in educating as well as empowering people with information and tool to fight for the freedom on the internet. But no service provider before has attempted to co-opt the net neutrality fight in quite the same way as AT&T Inc.

Net neutrality means that internet service providers have to treat all websites and Internet services equally.

Broadband provider AT&T - which is challenging the 2015 rules in court - publicly declared it was joining Wednesday's "Day of Action" protests.

The telecom's attempt to position itself as a net-neutrality defender was met with derision from some industry observers like BroadbandReports.

Net neutrality is now provided under the Title II provision of the Telecommunications Act, which prohibits companies from arbitrarily denying consumers service or discriminating to favor some services/sites over others. During this internet-wide day of action to save net neutrality, sites and apps are posting banners, videos and GIFs to their platforms and social media accounts as well as sending push notifications to their users.

Barack Obama's endorsement put enormous pressure on Wheeler (who Obama appointed to the commission and was a former campaign donor) to go with a stricter version of net neutrality rules. Notable websites, companies, and organization have pledged their allegiance to the protest, including Amazon, Twitter, Netflix, Facebook Reddit, and 80,000 others.

Did you notice a little more action online? We need Congress to take a strong stand against the FCC's plan and showing up at their offices is one of the most effective ways to get them to listen. Customers of streaming services like Netflix could see their subscription fees rise. But if we don't have net neutrality, and you start a company that is opposed to something that Comcast is running and is a competitor to something that Time Warner Cable has, they can shut you down. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has said regulation of ISPs as utilities hampers innovation and investment.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has a summary of the battle between ISPs, which claim to also want a "free and open internet", and supporters of net neutrality.

This has prompted a 90-day period in which members of the public can comment on the proposed rules up until July 17. A final vote on any new proposal is expected later this year.

"It's about free and open internet and I think it's important to preserve that". What more users and tech companies are concerned about, though, will be the ability for some sites to pay more to stream faster than other sites.

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