Net neutrality protests planned across US ahead of FCC decision

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Reuters / Steve Dipaola

​Activists plan on holding demonstrations in no fewer than a dozen cities across the United States on Thursday in hopes of having their voices heard ahead of an impending decision they say will influence the future of the internet.

The protests, which are slated to occur outside of the White House in Washington, DC and in front of government buildings in Boston, Chicago, Las Vegas and elsewhere, are being organized by activists concerned over how the Federal Communications Commission will rule when the agency ultimately makes its long awaited decision on net neutrality.

After months of debate, the FCC is expected to soon settle on a framework that will formally lay out how Internet Service Providers, or ISPs, can handle the delivery of web data from content providers to customers.

Last week, reporter Gautham Nagesh wrote for the Wall Street Journal that insiders close to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler say he’s close to settling on a hybrid approach of sorts that “separate broadband into two distinct services: a retail one, in which consumers would pay broadband providers for Internet access; and a back-end one, in which broadband providers serve as the conduit for websites to distribute content.”

“The FCC would then classify the back-end service as a common carrier, giving the agency the ability to police any deals between content companies and broadband providers,” Nagesh extrapolated.

Internet activists aren’t exactly keen on that purported proposal, though, nor were they with regards to most any potential frameworks that pose the possibility of letting the FCC prioritize or penalize ISPs and consumers alike by imposing restrictions or rules that would at all influence how web data is delivered.

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