Facebook Inc (FB.O), Twitter Inc (TWTR.N), Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O) and dozens of other major technology companies protested online on Wednesday against proposed changes to U.S.net neutrality rules that prohibit broadband providers from giving or selling access to certain internet services over others.
Right now, net neutrality is protected by Title II of the Communications Act, which considers ISPs "common carriers" and subject to regulations similar to utility providers.
Net neutrality is a term many use when discussing what, if any, control internet service providers should have on consumers' experience online. Companies say it could include displays like a fake slow loading screen to show users the likely outcome of slowed streaming services for those unwilling to pay up under rolled back regulations. (NASDAQ:NFLX), as well as many others.
An elimination of net neutrality rules could make it possible for ISPs to charge different prices for gaming services like Steam, PlayStation Network, or Xbox Live.
Till Sommer, from the UK's Internet Service Providers Association, told Sky News: The US is now engaged in an important debate around net neutrality, one that is much more intense than over here in the UK.
"The Day of Action isn't created to educate consumers about sensible policies, rather its goal is to scare them into thinking their internet experience will somehow suddenly be degraded if the FCC restores light touch regulation".
Historically, there is a strong link to between net neutrality and online piracy.
Just over two years after the Federal Communications Commission, under President Obama, approved rules protecting a free and open internet accessible to all, net neutrality is once again under fire.
The protest principally is aimed at a move by the United States communications regulator Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to remove an Obama-era rule that bars prioritisation of traffic.
In February 2015, the FCC voted to more strictly regulate ISPs and put the principles of net neutrality into law.
ISPs and the current FCC Chairman Ajit Pai disagree with that sentiment, claiming that the existing legislation discourages innovation and consequently hurts job growth in the country. As Mr Johnson-Williams noted, the Government plans to convert European Union net neutrality rules along with much of the rest of European Union law into British law using the Great Repeal Bill.
Sean Vitka, a lawyer for pro-net neutrality groups Demand Progress and Fight for the Future, added: 'What we want the FCC to hear, and we want members of Congress to hear, is that net neutrality is wildly popular, which it is, and we want them to stop trying to murder it.
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