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Protests planned today in West MI against FCC efforts to destroy Internet Neutrality

December 7, 2017

Today, there will be hundreds of protest against the FCC plans to gut what is often referred to as Net Neutrality. If FCC Chairman Pai gets what he wants, the internet will be under greater corporate control and people will have to pay extra for access to websites, downloads and apps that are currently free. Here is a useful video that makes it clear why Net Neutrality needs to continue.

Now, battles over Net Neutrality are not new. In fact, they have been going on ever since the internet became accessible to the average person. However, the pressure to limit public access to the internet is getting another big push from companies like Verizon, Comcast and AT&T. FCC Chairman Pai is a former Verizon lawyer, which is why the protests today are being held at Verizon stores all across the country and in West Michigan.

There are protests scheduled in two locations in West Michigan today, at different times:

  • 11:00am at Holland’s Verizon store – 3351 W Shore Dr Ste 10 Holland MI 49424
  • 4:00pm at the Verizon store – 3850 Alpine Ave NW Comstock Park MI 49321

A sample of what could be handed out at these demonstrations, which are being coordinated by the group FreePress.net, states the following:

Net neutrality is the First Amendment of the internet. It protects our free speech in the digital age. Members of Congress must call on Chairman Pai to abandon his current plan to kill net neutrality because it will allow Internet providers  to control what we see and do online.

“Title Two” is the legal foundation for net neutrality protections. It prevents companies like Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T from charging us all extra fees to access the websites, apps, and online services we depend on, and manipulating what we see with throttling, blocking, and censorship.

Net neutrality gives more people a voice than ever before. It’s what has made the Internet such a powerful platform for anyone who wasn’t given a voice or fair treatment by mainstream media. Without net neutrality, vulnerable communities would lose access to a critical platform for organizing and storytelling. Net neutrality repeal would be particularly devastating to communities of color, rural communities and low-income communities.

At this point, Rep. Justin Amash has not taken a position on Net Neutrality, but Rep. Bill Huizenga is supporting the end of Net Neutrality. Michigan Senators are split on the issue, with Sen. Stabenow supporting Net Neutrality, while Sen. Peters supports the corporate takeover of the internet. 

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