Bicyclist protests net neutrality by slowing traffic outside the FCC building
A protester opposed to the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) net neutrality repeal slowed traffic to a crawl outside the FCC Monday as a demonstration against the repeal.
A video released Monday shows Rob Bliss, video director for the website Seriously.TV, setting up traffic cones to block all but one lane for cars, then riding a bike slowly in the lane.
Bliss wore a sign encouraging drivers to upgrade to “priority access membership” for $5 a month, which would allow them to drive at normal speeds.
The protest was meant to mimic what critics say will be the effect of the net neutrality repeal, which will allow internet service providers to favor certain content or require content providers to pay for faster speeds.
Bliss’s experiment includes scuffles with police officers, who threw away his traffic cones and threatened to “lock [his] ass up.”
“I’m trying to restore automotive freedom,” Bliss told officers in the video.
The symbolic protest outside the FCC was a way of helping viewers understand how important net neutrality is, Bliss said.
“If we won’t allow it with our automotive traffic, then we shouldn’t allow it with our internet traffic,” the video states.
Bliss said the idea came to him after he was disappointed that the FCC rolled back net neutrality rules in December.
He quoted a Wall Street Journal article in which FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said innovators “transformed how billions of people live and work without asking anyone’s permission.”
“And so, with their resounding encouragement, this innovator will be restoring automotive freedom at the FCC,” Bliss said.
Net neutrality protections prevented companies from charging consumers more for access to faster internet speeds. Pai has argued that the FCC overstepped its boundaries when it imposed the Obama-era restrictions.
A Senate bill to reverse the repeal gained its 30th co-sponsor in January, and Democrats are certain they will receive enough votes to overrule the FCC.
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