16:20 14 July 2017
About 200 internet companies, including Google, Amazon and Facebook have come together on July 12 to oppose US government plans to scrap net neutrality protections, which attack the founding principle of open internet. The Trump administration is trying to overturn Obama-era regulation that protects net neutrality and there is less than a week left for people to object.
Net neutrality refers to the way internet service providers (ISPs) treat everyone’s data equally. It means that ISPs do not choose which data is sent more quickly and which sites get blocked. For this reason, some have described net neutrality as the “first amendment of the internet.”
Mark Stanley from Demand Progress, one of the activist groups organizing the day of action, said: “Net neutrality is basically the principle that keeps the internet open. Without it, big cable companies will be able to slow down certain websites and pick winners and losers on the internet,”
Net neutrality is supported by Apple, Google and even Netflix. These companies have argued that since people are already paying for connectivity, they deserve access to quality experience. Mozilla, on the other hand, argues that net neutrality allows for creativity, innovation and economic growth.
More than 800 startups, investors and other people and organisations sent a letter to Trump’s new FCC chairman, Ajit Pai, a former Verizon lawyer, who is pushing to overturn the 2015 order. The letter said: “Without net neutrality, the incumbents who provide access to the internet would be able to pick winners or losers in the market. They could impede traffic from our services in order to favor their own services or established competitors. Or they could impose new tolls on us, inhibiting consumer choice.”
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