We can't allow net neutrality to die

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Net Neutrality supports our freedom of speech.

Approximately 20 protestors were outside the Verizon Store on Mangrove in Chico Thursday morning in advance of next week's vote by the Federal Communications Commission to repeal its net neutrality regime.

That's what locals were saying Thursday as they turned out to protest the possible end of net neutrality.

Protestors targeted Verizon stores because Ajit Pai, the current chairman of the FCC, previously served as associate general counsel at Verizon, which has been a longtime opponent of net neutrality.

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The leaflet, however, did not endorse net neutrality, which Verizon has publicly opposed, instead supporting the "lightly regulated environment" of the internet before the 2015 net neutrality rules were implemented.

Although the future of internet regulation has been a hot-button issue since President Donald Trump appointed Pai, an industry insider, to lead the FCC, the action on the ground has intensified in recent weeks, with an official vote to roll back consumer protections-and "destroy the internet as we know it"-scheduled for next week". If one were to take note of the ever-increasing rate at which innovations have been made in social media, smartphone apps, and computing, then how could one say that the very regulations that keep the internet open are a detriment to progress? "With a rogue FCC commissioner blatantly captured by the industry he is supposed to provide oversight for, Congress must do their job and take action to stop the FCC vote on December 14". Once the regulations are eliminated, providers would in theory be able to block, slow down, or charge extra for access to certain web sites.

Several protesters expressed their worry that the fate of net neutrality was being decided in a less than democratic way or that the end of net neutrality would allow political content to be restricted on the internet.

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