Net Neutrality Day

It's Net Neutrality Day, and over 100,000 web sites are participating.

Many of the most popular websites on the web are participating in an Internet-Wide Day of Action to Save Net Neutrality today to oppose the FCC’s plan to slash Title II, the legal foundation for net neutrality rules that protect online free speech and innovation. Starting at midnight, a flood of major web platforms like Twitter, Reddit, Netflix, Spotify, Airbnb, OK Cupid, Vimeo, Pornhub, Imgur, and Soundcloud began displaying prominent protest messages to their users, encouraging them to take action by contacting the FCC and Congress through tools like BattleForTheNet.com that make it easy for Internet users to make their voices heard.

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However, one company participating in this bold stand for a free and open internet stands out above all the rest, and thus deserves special recognition - AT&T.

You'd be hard pressed to find a bigger enemy of net neutrality than the fine folks at AT&T. The company has a history of all manner of anti-competitive assaults on the open and competitive internet, from blocking customer access to Apple FaceTime unless users subscribed to more expensive plans, to exempting its own content from arbitrary and unnecessary usage caps while penalizing streaming competitors. AT&T also played a starring role in ensuring the FCC's 2010 net neutrality rules were flimsy garbage, and sued to overturn the agency's tougher, 2015 rules.

So it's with a combination of amusement and awe to see the company's top lobbying and policy head, Bob Quinn, pen a missive over at the AT&T website proudly proclaiming the company will be joining tomorrow's "day of action protest" in support of keeping the existing rules intact. According to Quinn, the company still opposes the FCC's popular 2015 consumer protections, but wanted to participate in the protest because that's just how much the sweethearts at AT&T adore the open internet:

"Tomorrow, AT&T will join the “Day of Action” for preserving and advancing an open internet. This may seem like an anomaly to many people who might question why AT&T is joining with those who have differing viewpoints on how to ensure an open and free internet. But that’s exactly the point – we all agree that an open internet is critical for ensuring freedom of expression and a free flow of ideas and commerce in the United States and around the world. We agree that no company should be allowed to block content or throttle the download speeds of content in a discriminatory manner. So, we are joining this effort because it’s consistent with AT&T’s proud history of championing our customers’ right to an open internet and access to the internet content, applications and devices of their choosing.

That is an incredible, astounding line of bullshit.

Now to be fair, not all ISP's are so full of bullshit. Some of them are downright honest in their utter contempt for everyone who want to stand in the way of bigger profit margins.

Companies and organizations that rely on an open internet rallied on Wednesday for a “day of action” on net neutrality, and America’s biggest internet service providers have responded with arrogance and contempt for their customers. Comcast’s David Cohen called arguments in favor of FCC regulation “scare tactics” and “hysteria.” Beyond the dismissive rhetoric, ISPs are coincidentally united today in calling for Congress to act — and that’s because they’ve paid handsomely to control what Congress does.
There’s one thing Republicans and Democrats can agree on, and that’s taking money from ISPs.
...AT&T hilariously said it has joined the day of action, which is like a wolf attending a sheep’s rights rally.
... Comcast says it supports “permanent, strong, legally enforceable net neutrality rules,” which it will continue to say until 2018 when its involuntary requirement to support those rules as a condition of its NBCUniversal merger expires. Meanwhile, the ISPs are barreling forward with schemes like zero-rating and sponsored data that are completely incompatible with open-internet principles.

Large ISPs want the current rules thrown out, and replaced with entirely new rules drafted by Congress. Why? Because they will be the ones writing them.

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21 users have voted.

Comments

thanatokephaloides's picture

It is said that no matter how big a business becomes, it still dies an ignominious death unless it obeys the rule: the customer is always first.

AT&T's customer base is likely in noisy, open revolt over net neutrality, and that's not something they can afford to ignore.

Now to get Comcast to recognize that this is the reality for them, too.

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8 users have voted.

"Some members of the government are now investigating opioid pain killers but they are investigating the wrong thing. Despair-masking drugs are not the problem. Despair is."
-- featheredsprite

@thanatokephaloides "the customer is always first." Is there a corporation left in America that still believes this? It certainly doesn't feel that way whenever I try to contact them.

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9 users have voted.

@thanatokephaloides
AT&T and Comcast have local and nationwide monopolies.

Personally, my household dumped Comcast last month.

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11 users have voted.

@thanatokephaloides
years ago, one of the competing long-distance companies had an ad touting their new rates, which were "x% less than AT&T can find it in their hearts to give you". at exactly the same time, the same company was suing AT&T to prevent them from lowering their rates.

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7 users have voted.

Sigh

Dhyerwolf's picture

@thanatokephaloides I can safely say that no one there gives a damn about anything. I've never seen a company where all employees had such little power or told just flat out lied. In their stores, in corporate, in legal...etc.

They just don't care as long as they can squeeze out a few extra pennies.

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6 users have voted.
The Aspie Corner's picture

Those bastards have commoditized every damn thing not nailed down. Including cosmetic in-game items which they sell to consumers at outlandish prices. Worst of all, since the advent of DLC, devs are releasing games more and more half-assed and buggy. Granted, the workers in that industry are treated as shitty as any other, but the execs who push this kind of crap need to be tarred and feathered all the same.

On the other hand, idiot teenage and 20-something gamers would rather whine to no end about women stating the obvious when it comes to critiques of content, and, even after stating that said critiques are not against the people who play these games, whine about how they're being called sexist or any other -ist. Damn kids. Get the hell off my lawn.

No doubt they'll benefit from industry insider Ajit Pai's gutting of net neutrality rules once he does get his way. And he will. Because most 'Muricans don't have the balls to fight back when it really matters, as demonstrated above.

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5 users have voted.
Lenzabi's picture

Congress, the best big whorehouse in DC

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8 users have voted.

So long, and thanks for all the fish

dervish's picture

They did the same thing with the bankruptcy bill, they'd keep bringing it up every year or two, and each time it went down in defeat, until the one time it didn't (Thanks Biden). I wish there was a way to not only fight this, but to make Congress terrified to even whisper about it.

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7 users have voted.

"Obama promised transparency, but Assange is the one who brought it."

@dervish And put it in the constitution like the founders put the postal clause.

And the same for trains soon thereafter.

The former would certainly add a pretty good chunk of change to the coffers to pay for healthcare for all.

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6 users have voted.
dervish's picture

@peachcreek except how do we trust the government to manage it? If McConnell and Kushner controlled the internet, I doubt that they would manage it for our benefit.

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2 users have voted.

"Obama promised transparency, but Assange is the one who brought it."