Diversity & Inclusion
Federal government / Internet

What happens if #NetNeutrality gets rolled back?

Here's how a Philly group plans to react to the policy change, which is expected to happen Thursday at the FCC's meeting.

The FCC is currently discussing the rollback. (Photo courtesy of FCC)

On Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission is holding a meeting to roll back Net Neutrality regulations, which prevent internet service providers (ISPs) from blocking, slowing down or charging money for specific sites.

The move, per the agency’s final proposal aims to “facilitate critical broadband investment and innovation by removing regulatory uncertainty and lowering compliance costs.”

Watch the meeting live

Since the proposal was announced, Comcast has welcomed the initiative, calling the Title II classification of the internet as a public utility an “ill-advised and outdated burden” laid upon ISPs.

“With the expected FCC action tomorrow, it’s time to set aside partisan threats of litigation or legislation,” said Senior EVP David Cohen in a blog post published Wednesday. “The best interests of consumers, Internet companies, and ISPs are now best served by bipartisan discussions and problem solving.”

(Context: The FCC’s vote on Net Neutrality comes just months after the Trump administration passed a bill that would allow ISPs like Comcast to sell user’s browsing data.)

Media Mobilizing Project, the Philly-based digital rights advocacy group, sent a group of protesters to D.C. Thursday, the final protest move ahead of the scheduled vote. Last week, it joined a string of national protests at Verizon stores.

What’s the move from the group if the rules, as expected, are rolled back?

“We will be fighting to make sure all our senators and representatives repeal this horrible mess,” MMP’s policy director Hannah Sassaman told Technical.ly in a text message. “Congressional Review Act time! And colleagues suing them. Our movement has won twice in court.”

The activist also asked those with concerns around Net Neutrality to “stay tuned” to BattleForTheNet.com for the next actions against the looming decision.

Executive director Bryan Mercer told Technical.ly in November that Net Neutrality regulations were key to bridging Philly’s digital divide.

“Philadelphia is the poorest big city in America, with a brutal digital divide, keeping primarily Black, Brown, and poor Philadelphians offline,” Mercer said in an email. “As we mobilize to transform public education, criminal justice, and to get access to desperately needed jobs, healthcare, and housing, we urgently need a free and open internet to get our voices out past the big companies who want only to profit from our human right to communicate.”

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