updated 10:15 pm EDT, Thu May 1, 2014
Large companies like Google and Netflix may bring back SOPA style protests
The battle between the FCC and consumers over net neutrality may not yet be over, as information provided to corporations later this week regarding the recent FCC proposal may spark future action to retain an open Internet. The Wall Street Journal reports that while some of the larger companies are awaiting briefing information from the FCC over the new proposal issued in late April, they may be readying action on the same scale as the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) protests.
Members of The Internet Association, a group formed around major Internet businesses such as Google, Ebay, Netflix and Amazon, have so far stayed silent about the situation. However, the WSJ's report suggests that "officials inside the companies who follow government policy say they are considering mobilizing a grass-roots campaign to rally public opinion around the idea that the Internet's pipes should be equally open for all."
A statement issued by President and CEO Michael Beckerman on April 25 mentioned that the association would be waiting to comment on the proposals until they were able to review them. Beckerman notes that there is concern over "the reports that indicate that the proposed policies risk departing from the history of the free and open Internet by allowing broadband gatekeepers to decide what websites run the fastest."
Nothing has been confirmed by the association or any corporations about potential action, but large scale boycotts over policies such as SOPA and the Protect IP Act (PIPA) were successful in 2011 and 2012 when blackouts were used across the Internet to inspire action against the bills.
FCC Chairmain Tom Wheeler's proposals for net neutrality are said to keep companies from downgrading Internet traffic in their own favor, but also opens up the opportunity for companies to charge extra for faster content delivery. The FCC is expected to brief companies this Friday on the information in the proposals, which have so far only been distributed internally.