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Internet Advocates Gather in Fayetteville to Protest Net Neutrality
January 21 2018, 12:23 | Alonzo Simpson
The mayors say maintaining an open internet is crucial to drive economic and educational benefits to a community
Protest organizer Scott Haddlesey said, "The current administration, as well as all the ISPs such as Verizon are out to roll back that regulation in order to introduce further fees to access parts of the internet that we already have access to or just block things they don't want people to see".
Indeed, net neutrality rules passed in a party-line vote by the Federal Communications Commission in 2015 essentially mandated that cable and phone companies treat all internet traffic equally.
Map of plan protests at Verizon stores and other locations.
Slim as their prospects may be, pro-regulation activists are turning to a bitterly divided Congress, pressuring politicians to intervene and prevent the FCC vote.
Protesters hope to generate awareness about what, they call, severe repercussions of rollbacks regarding Net neutrality. If net neutrality ends, "we're paying more for less". Ending net neutrality, he said, would also end that possibility.
At one point, a manager and salesperson from the Verizon Store came out to hand out leaflets labeled "Verizon Supports the Open Internet", and told protesters that Verizon did not disagree with them.
Congressman Doug LaMalfa said in a letter to constituents, "Rather than focusing government resources on burdensome regulation, we should be redirecting our focus on improving affordable internet access, especially in high-cost rural areas".
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, who is leading the effort to wipe away net neutrality, has said the rules are unnecessary regulation that can stifle innovation.
A district sales manager at Russell Cellular Verizon declined to comment, or to give his name.