FCC Protestors Vow to Stay Until Net Neutrality Vote

PopularResistance.org and Fight for the Future organized a protest and camp-out in front of (and to the side of) the FCC’s D.C. headquarters this week, demanding the FCC protect the Internet by applying common carrier regs. At press time they were still there and pledging to remain until the May 15 vote on the new rules.

We talked to Margaret Flowers from PopularResistance.org, who was helping pound in a protest sign, “One Internet for Everyone,” on a grassy strip where the handful of protestors—eight at the time—were camped out along a side entrance to the commission. She said she had been there since the morning of May 7 and that the group, which she said was growing, would be there until the FCC’s May 15 vote on the new rules. Flowers said Code Pink was helping out, as was Free Press, and that Occupy Wall Street planned to join the protest. The  goal is to get the FCC to classify Internet access under Title II.  

“We want the vote to include reclassifying the Internet as a common carrier service,” she said.

Wheeler has said the item will ask whether that should be done. “He basically said ‘if I have to reclassify, I will.’ We’re saying ‘you have to reclassify it.’ People feel  very strongly about this issue.”

Flowers said she had gotten a call the first day here from top aide to Tom Wheeler Gigi Sohn, former head of Public Knowledge, who said a meeting was a possibility, though one had not been scheduled at press time. She said she expected the group to have a “Very strong presence” at the FCC meeting. Asked whether they might interrupt the meeting, she said they didn’t know what they would do.

“It all depends on how the week goes and what we feel is appropriate,” she said. “We don’t interrupt unless we feel like it is going to gain us something.”

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.