Some of the internet’s biggest names are banding together for a “day of action” to oppose the Federal Communications Commission, which is working to undo regulations for internet providers that it passed during the Obama administration.
Among the participants are Etsy, Kickstarter and Mozilla, the maker of the popular Firefox Web browser. Also joining the day of protest will be Reddit, the start-up incubator Y Combinator and Amazon.
On July 12, the companies are expected to change their websites to raise awareness of the FCC effort, which is aimed at deregulating the telecom and cable industries. At stake are the government’s net neutrality rules, which prohibit internet providers from blocking or slowing websites or charging them special fees in order for their content to be displayed to consumers.
Sam Altman, the president of Y Combinator, said many of the small businesses he has helped nurture have gone on to become major players, such as Dropbox. “Without strong net neutrality rules, though, I’m concerned that the cable and wireless companies that control internet access will have outsized power to pick winners and losers in the market,” he said.
Net neutrality is the concept that all internet traffic should be treated equally by broadband providers. Supporters of the rules say such guidelines are necessary to preserve competition and a healthy internet where anyone can start a new website. But critics of the rules, including the FCC’s Republican majority, say the policy is stifling and prevents internet providers from finding new ways of making money.