(Image via Facebook)
Protesters plan to gather at the Verizon store on Bedford Avenue and 8th Street in Brooklyn to voice their displeasure over a proposed rule change that polices internet service providers.
The issue, commonly called “net neutrality,” has been in the national discussion for years, since it became official policy in 2015, under President Barack Obama. But a new president and a new FCC chairman, Ajit Pai, would like to scrap the rules that treat internet providers like utilities in the way they handle traffic.
Under the current net neutrality rules, service providers like Verizon and Comcast must treat all web traffic the same way, sending Netflix, Facebook and Google through the pipes to consumers at the same download speed. Under the proposed rule changes, service providers would be able to prioritize which websites go through the network fastest. That would open up the possibility that individual (big) companies could pay service providers to make their traffic a higher priority, at the expense of other (small) companies.
💪🏻 because we must https://t.co/FArdX2UtaR
— Alexis Ohanian Sr. (@alexisohanian) December 1, 2017
Critics of the changes say it will be tantamount to privatizing the internet, and want to keep the existing rules on the books.
The protest Thursday night was organized by the political group Bushwick Berners. On Facebook, 250 people have said they’re attending the rally, and 2,700 have said they’re “interested.”
The protest’s Facebook page also notes: “Please remember, this event is about protesting actions of Verizon executives, lobbyists and their supporters in Washington, not the employees at these stores.”
For a good primer on the issue, we recommend this piece from the Wall Street Journal.