Protesters confront FCC chief at home

Protesters blocked the driveway of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman on Monday, barring him from driving to work.  

A handful of protesters confronted Chairman Tom Wheeler and demanded that he reclassify the Internet so that it can be regulated with the same laws as a public utility.

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In a video released by Popular Resistance, which organized the event, a half-dozen protesters held a banner across his driveway that read “Save the Internet.”

“I’m sorry because we can’t let you go to work today because you work for Comcast, Verizon and AT&T, and not for the people,” one protester said. “We can’t let you go there because you’re selling us out on Internet neutrality and that’s not OK with us. 

Protesters demanded that Wheeler declare that broadband Internet service is a “common carrier” like traditional phone lines, which would give the agency broad authority to regulate Internet service companies such as Comcast and Time Warner Cable. Supporters of the move say it is the only way to ensure true net neutrality — the notion that Internet service companies should treat all online traffic equally.

The protest occurred at Wheeler’s house at about the same time President Obama on Monday morning declared that the FCC should apply common carrier rules to the Internet, a bold move that elicited tough blowback from Republicans and from the cable and telecommunications industry.

Wheeler spoke with protesters outside his house for a number of minutes before returning back inside.

An agency spokeswoman confirmed that Wheeler did eventually get to work on Monday morning.

Earlier this year, Popular Resistance organized a weeklong protest outside of the FCC’s Southwest Washington headquarters, similarly demanding that the agency enact tough rules for the Web.