As FCC vote nears, net neutrality proponents to target Verizon stores

SALT LAKE CITY — Opponents of changes to net neutrality regulations, slated for a Federal Communications Commission vote on Dec. 14, are targeting Verizon stores in Utah and across the country Thursday in a nationally coordinated day of protests.

The groups Demand Progress, Fight for the Future and Free Press Action Fund are helping local organizers stage protests over the FCC’s Restoring Internet Freedom proposal that was made public in late November. According to the national groups, Verizon has become a focus of the activities due to its support of the changes as well as FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s former position with the company.

“The new chairman of the FCC, Ajit Pai, is a former top lawyer for Verizon, and the company has been spending millions on lobbying and lawsuits to kill net neutrality so they can gouge us all for more money,” read a posting on the organizers’ protest website. “By protesting at Verizon stores, we’re shining light on the corruption and demanding that our lawmakers do something about it.”

Even though Verizon Senior Vice President Kathie Grillo had previously released a statement indicating the company was “encouraged” by the FCC’s proposed changes, a company spokesman told the Deseret News Wednesday that Verizon was aligned with the goals of protesters.

“Verizon agrees with those planning to publicly express their views tomorrow,” said spokesman Rich Young. “Like those concerned, we fully support an open internet and believe consumers should be able to use it to access lawful content when, where and how they want. We’ve publicly committed to that before and we stand by that commitment today.”

The proposal seeks to roll back Obama-era regulations that designated internet service providers as quasi-utilities to prevent those companies from metering, constricting or boosting connection speeds to select websites. Industry watchers expect the five-member commission, currently comprised of …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Business News

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