PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Internet is on the verge of changing, and people around the country — including Portlanders — are not happy about it.
On Thursday, protesters gathered in front of Internet provider stores like Comcast, AT&T and Verizon to protest the possible end of “net neutrality,” something enacted under the Obama Administration which basically means all traffic on the Internet is treated the same. The Federal Communications Commission is considering ending net neutrality, giving internet providers the ability to charge different prices for different types of traffic.
Some call it a violation of Internet freedom.
“Net neutrality is more than just the internet being equal: it’s how we express ourselves,” said protestor William Tang. “It’s freedom of speech. It’s how innovation happens.”
Some people worry that without net neutrality, Internet providers could intentionally slow speeds down in a process called “throttling.” Experts also worry that providers could create Internet fast lanes for their own content or anyone who’s willing to pay a tall, thus ending Internet sovereignty.
Those fears led protesters to the front doors of Internet stores on Thursday.
“It means freedom to get information from where I choose the freedom to know what there is to know,” said Reznik Isaacson, a protester.
Ajit Pai, the FCC chairman, released a statement a couple of weeks ago about net neutrality: “Under my proposal, the federal government will stop micromanaging the internet.”
Verizon also released a statement on the status of net neutrality: “We’re very encouraged the FCC will restore the successful light-touch regulatory framework for Internet services.”