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D-Day for net neutrality as FCC vote looms

Campaigners bring the fight to chairman Wheeler
Thu May 15 2014, 16:11
Judge's gavel

THE UNITED STATES FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION (FCC) is set to vote on a proposal for regulating net neutrality today, as the hearing begins in Washington DC.

Ahead of the announcement, all sides have been pushing their views. After the open letter from the information technology industry supporting net neutrality and another yesterday from the ISPs railing against it, a third letter has now emerged, this time from the entertainment industry.

The Caucus for Producers, Writers and Directors has lambasted plans to end net neutrality, saying that the internet "is about to be twisted and ripped from the hands of we who depend upon it and recreate it on a daily basis," adding that the FCC commissioners "seem sure that while the internet isn't broken and in fact works with brilliant efficiency, it will not survive unless they fix it".

Elsewhere an Occupy movement has sprung up outside the FCC headquarters in Washington, DC, with around 15 protesters pitching tents outside the building for a bit of on-the-spot advocacy. Three of the five members of the FCC have met with the protestors during the last few days, including chairman Tom Wheeler, who is said to be in favour of his own version of net neutrality, which involves not actually having any.

A number of billboards have appeared in the Washington area warning of the potential dangers of an FCC decision that damages net neutrality, courtesy of a crowd funding campaign led by Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of Reddit.

In spite of the protests, the vote will go ahead at some point today, although even commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel admitting during a speech last week that she was not comfortable with chairman Wheeler's plans and said that delaying the vote was called for. µ


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