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Internet giants protest over rollback of net neutrality

A large number of internet giants – including Facebook, Google, AirBnB and others – are preparing for a “Day of Protest” on Wednesday 12th July over a ruling by the US communications regulator, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), that will reverse Obama-era net neutrality rules that prevent the prioritisation (or “throttling”) of data.

These were implemented by classifying ISPs as telecommunications operators regulated under Title II of the US Communications Act.Campaigners fear the decision by the communications regulator will lead to a two-tier internet in which ISPs can determine the download speeds of content. Sean Vitka, a lawyer for pro-net neutrality groups Demand Progress and Fight for the Future, said: “If a new company can’t access companies on the same terms as the incumbents they’re not going to have the chance to thrive.” But the NCTA, a trade association for network operators argued that Title II regulation is “a complicated set of rules from the 1930s” and “not remotely connected to net neutrality”.

The FCC implemented net neutrality rules under Title II when the courts found that it had exceeded its authority under Title I when imposing a previous ruleset in 2010.

On Wednesday, several internet companies will be voicing their opposition to the move in a variety of ways, from changing their homepage to black, simulate what internet access is like in a world without net neutrality, displaying messages against the move, and more.

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