“The FCC under Pai is handing over the internet to a few humongous gatekeepers who see the rest of us as products to be delivered to advertisers, not as citizens needing communications that serve democracy’s needs.”
Open internet advocates warned that “we’re running out of time” to save the web from corporate control and called on Americans to make their representatives’ phones “ring off the hook” Tuesday after FCC chairman Ajit Pai unveiled his long-awaited plan to scrap net neutrality that critics slammed as “naked corporatism” designed to give a major gift to the telecom industry at the expense of the public.
“The reckless wrecking ball strikes again,” former FCC commissioner and current special adviser at Common Cause Michael Copps said in a statement. “FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s scorched-earth plan for net neutrality displays callous disregard for both process and substance. The chairman’s plan to do away with net neutrality will be a disaster for consumers and yet another handout for big business.”
Matt Wood, policy director at Free Press, said Pai’s plan “makes no sense” for a variety of key reasons.“It ignores the will of people from across the political spectrum who overwhelmingly support these protections. It ignores the law and the courts, which have repeatedly upheld the 2015 Title II rules. And it ignores the vibrancy of the internet marketplace following adoption of that 2015 order, with incontrovertible economic data showing that both investment in networks and online innovation are flourishing under the very same rules Pai wants to destroy,” Wood said.
Framed by Pai and its corporate backers as a push to “restore internet freedom,” the plan outlined Tuesday would do precisely the opposite, say critics, by allowing massive telecom companies to block or throttle online content and charge more for services.
“Internet rights are civil rights,” Jay Stanley, a senior policy analyst at the American Civil Liberties Union, declared in a statement on Tuesday. “Gutting net neutrality will have a devastating effect on free speech online. Without it, gateway corporations like Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T will have too much power to mess with the free flow of information.”