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.
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.