Silicon Valley Plans Day of Action on Net Neutrality

fcc building

Amazon, Etsy, Reddit and other Silicon Valley giants will band together in an “Internet-Wide Day of Action to Save Net Neutrality” July 12.

Tech companies are teaming with the American Civil Liberties Union, Free Press, Common Cause and other public-interest groups to push back against the Federal Communications Commission’s plan to roll back Obama-era net neutrality regulations. Participants plan to direct their web users to tools letting them contact Congress and the FCC to object to the plan. At least 50 companies and advocacy groups plan to change their websites and share information on social media to activate opposition to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s proposal.

“The FCC wants to destroy net neutrality and give big cable companies control over what we see and do online. If they get their way, they’ll allow widespread throttling, blocking, censorship, and extra fees. On July 12th, the Internet will come together to stop them,” the groups said on the Day of Action website.

Fight for the Future, a non-profit digital advocacy group, is organizing the protest. The group compared the plan to similar one-day digital protests in recent years that drew participation from many of the same companies and organizations. A 2012 event saw companies like Google, Reddit and Wikipedia replace their flagship websites with fully or partially blacked-out pages to protest proposed two bills that would have cracked down on digital piracy. Opponents called said the legislation could be used to curb free speech. Both bills were indefinitely shelved after the protest.

The FCC will be accepting comments from the public on its plan through August 17. Pai is proposing to end utility-style “common carrier” classification of broadband and consider modifying or eliminating many of the net neutrality rules that followed from that 2015 classification.

Pai has said he hopes to move to a market-based net neutrality policy that he contends would boost investment and innovation in broadband. Pai’s current proposal cites studies concluding that U.S. investment in broadband has cooled since the last FCC approved its rules, though net neutrality advocates dispute those findings.