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Net Neutrality Protests Coming to More Than 600 Verizon Stores on Thursday

Phillip Dampier December 6, 2017 Consumer News, Net Neutrality, Public Policy & Gov't No Comments

Thousands of pro-Net Neutrality supporters are expected to protest the imminent repeal of rules protecting a free and open internet at more than 600 Verizon retail stores nationwide on Thursday, Dec. 6.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai is likely to preside over a 3-2 Republican majority Dec. 14 vote rolling back rules that prevent internet service providers from blocking or slowing access to websites and creating paid “fast lanes.”

“The protests are meant to pierce the protective bubble of industry lobbyists and ‘yes men’ who’ve surrounded Chairman Pai,” said Free Press Action Fund senior director of strategy Timothy Karr,  who helped coordinate the day of action. “The outcry from across the political spectrum has been deafening. Pai’s effort to ignore the overwhelming public support for Net Neutrality only isolates him further from the people he’s really supposed to serve.”

The largest protest is expected to take place at Verizon’s Manhattan store on 42nd Street near Bryant Park. Other New York-area protests will occur at Verizon stores and offices in Lower Manhattan, Williamsburg (Brooklyn) and Fordham University (the Bronx).

Verizon Protests, a website run by several internet activist groups, is coordinating the public pushback against Pai and features an online map showing scheduled protest locations, asking those planning to attend to RSVP and find out the time of the protest at each location.

The group chose Verizon’s retail stores for its protests because Verizon is funding anti-Net Neutrality campaigns and lawsuits.

“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,” the website says. “By protesting at Verizon stores, we’re shining light on the corruption and demanding that our lawmakers do something about it. Only Congress has the power to stop Verizon’s puppet FCC, so at the protests we’ll be calling and tweeting at legislators, and in some cities we’ll be protesting right in front of their offices.”

The group is encouraging everyone to also take their protest to their members of Congress.

“Everybody can call (202) 759-7766.  Please introduce yourself, be polite, and say and say something like: “I support “Title Two” Net Neutrality rules and I would like you to publicly oppose the FCC’s plan to repeal them,” the group advises in a three-page protest guide. “Please contact the FCC Chairman and demand that he abandon his current plan. We don’t need legislation, we need you to stop the FCC from gutting the existing rules.”

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