Most Americans Support Net Neutrality, Online Protest Slated

Amazon, Etsy, Kickstarter, Mozilla, Reddit and Y Combinator are planning a “day of action” to oppose the FCC’s plan to undo net neutrality. On July 12, the companies plan to change their websites in various ways to raise awareness of the current efforts to repeal net neutrality, which prohibits ISPs from blocking or slowing websites or charging fees to display content. A recent poll showed that a large percentage of Americans, across all political affiliations, support net neutrality and question the government’s ability to protect Internet access.

The Washington Post quotes Y Combinator president Sam Altman that, “without strong net neutrality rules … I’m concerned that the cable and wireless companies that control Internet access will have outsized power to pick winners and losers in the market.” Mozilla will focus on how pulling back on net neutrality could “hurt free speech, competition and innovation on the Internet.”

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“The FCC is endangering Americans’ access to a free and open web,” said Mozilla chief legal officer Denelle Dixon. “The FCC is creating an Internet that benefits ISPs, not users.”

Net neutrality supporters say its regulations are “necessary to preserve competition and a healthy Internet where anyone can start a new website,” but FCC chairman Ajit Pai, and the FCC’s Republican majority, argue that “the policy is stifling” and that “small ISPs faced new regulatory burdens.” The Democrats plan to highlight the repercussions of repealing net neutrality and thus make the GOP’s plan untenable.

Mozilla and Ipsos conducted a poll and found “overwhelming support across party lines for net neutrality, with over three quarters of Americans (76 percent) supporting net neutrality.” Broken down by political affiliation, 81 percent of Democrats and 73 percent of Republicans support it. The poll also found that 70 percent of Americans “place no or little trust in the Trump administration or Congress (78 percent)” to protect access to the Internet.

The poll, which involved 1,000 American adults across the U.S., was conducted in late May, just after the FCC voted to dismantle Obama-era net neutrality rules. The poll interviewed 354 Democrats, 344 Republicans, and 224 Independents. Other key findings were that 78 percent of those polled “believe that equal access to the Internet is a right, with large majorities of Democrats (88 percent), Independents (71 percent), and Republicans (67 percent) in agreement.”

Those polled not only distrusted government to protect access to the Internet, but 54 percent also distrusted ISPs to do the same thing. Respondents also agreed that net neutrality has a positive impact on small businesses (70 percent), individuals (69 percent), innovators (65 percent) and ISPs (55 percent), but only 46 percent thought it benefits big businesses.