Net Neutrality activists protest swanky dinner for FCC Chairman Pai

Video from the protest at the Hilton

On the 7th of December, FCC Chairman Agit Pai was the guest of dishonor at a swanky dinner held at the Hilton on Connecticut Ave. Protesters outside shouted disapproval. Pai is a former Verizon lobbyist now seeking to dismantle all vestiges of Internet neutrality now that he's at the FCC. In addition to this protest there were protests at Verizon stores all over the US.

In DC, protesters showed up at Noon at the Verizon store at 13th and F sts, and protests both there and at the Union Station Verizon store were hurredly moved to the Hilton when word reached activists that Ajit Pai would be the star of a fancy dinner there. One protester bluntly called for a boycott of Verizon if net neutrality gets revoked. The protest at the Hilton even featured a projectionist using light to display giant reminders about net neutrality and "no slow lanes" in letters big enough for the FCC's chairman to read.

At the moment the process is being slowed down by the revelation that the public comment process required before any FCC rulemaking was tainted by millions of fake comments (many falsely in the names of real people) posted by pro-Trump bots opposing net neutrality.

There are serious fears that if net neutrality is revoked, the virtual equivalent of the toll lanes on I-66 will be the future of the Internet. Smaller websites that don't pay for premium access will have service from their readers slowed to a crawl, while ad-supported sites with lots of money will get zero-rated apps on mobile, exempted from data caps that are never raised again. There are even fears that Internet service itself would be sold like Cable TV service, with customers having to pay extra to unblock categories of content such as a "video upgrade" for known and blocked video sites, and a "social upgrade" for social media sites.

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