Net neutrality backers take victory lap with Grumpy Cat

Net neutrality backers take victory lap with Grumpy Cat

Net neutrality supporters celebrated their victory in Washington this week by taking to the skies over the nation’s largest cable company.

Activists on Friday flew an airplane tugging a pro-net neutrality banner over Comcast’s Philadelphia headquarters that featured the popular Internet meme Grumpy Cat.

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“Comcast: Don’t mess with the Internet,” the banner read, next to an image of the popular cat.

The action follows sustained and vocal efforts in support of net neutrality launched by groups including Fight for the Future, Demand Progress and Free Press. At times, the activists brought a large screen to the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Southwest Washington headquarters, slept outside the building and stormed its open meetings with demands for tough rules.

Activists’ ability to keep people engaged on the issue — both in person and online — helped push agency Chairman Tom Wheeler toward embracing the tough new rules. After the vote to issue them on Thursday, President Obama thanked the “millions of voices” for coming out in favor of tough rules. 

“Comcast and cable allies spent big for the right to degrade the very service they provide to their customers, and they tried to ignore the millions of public comments in support of net neutrality,” Demand Progress executive director David Segal said in a statement. “This banner is a message from the millions who stood up to one of the most powerful special interests in Washington: You can’t ignore the Internet.”

Comcast opposed the FCC’s new rules, which take the controversial step of treating the Internet like a public utility in order to ensure that every Internet user has equal, unfettered access to the Internet.