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Net neutrality group plans holiday protests at Verizon stores

Net neutrality group plans holiday protests at Verizon stores
© Greg Nash

Net neutrality proponents are planning a last-ditch holiday protest against the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) move to scrap Obama-era rules.

Protesters in cities including Phoenix, Denver, San Francisco, New York City, Indianapolis and Boston will march from local Verizon stores to lawmakers’ district offices on Dec. 7.

March participants will drop off signed petitions against scrapping net neutrality at their representatives' offices in an effort to have lawmakers speak out against the FCC’s push to roll back the rules.

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Fight for the Future, which is organizing the protests, says it wants to take advantage of the busy holiday season to raise awareness at crowded storefronts.

“The corrupt bureaucrats trying to kill net neutrality are hoping to avoid public backlash by burying the news over the Holiday weekend,” said Fight for the Future's Evan Greer. “We’re taking our protest from the Internet to the streets to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

The protest is a response to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s plan to scrap net neutrality rules. The rules, enacted under former Chairman Tom Wheeler, aim to create a level playing field on the internet by barring internet service providers like Verizon, Comcast and others from prioritizing certain types of online content over others.

Pai is on the verge of finalizing his plan to scrap the rules. He released an initial draft of his proposal, “Restoring Internet Freedom,” last April and opened it for public comment. The commission is now reportedly set to remove the rules in December.

Greer says Verizon stores are being targeted because Pai worked as an associate general counsel for the telecommunications firm.

“Clearly all of the big ISPs are to blame for this attack on our rights, but the fact that Ajit Pai was a top lawyer for Verizon just makes the corruption that much more blatant,” she said in an email.