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A group of 40 technology companies on Wednesday launched a "Day of Action," designed to encourage feedback to the U.S. Federal Communications Commission in support of net neutrality regulations — which are opposed by Trump-appointed chairman Ajit Pai, as well as internet service providers like AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon.
A few of the companies participating in the Day of Action — linked to the industry-based Internet Association — include Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Snap, Spotify, and Twitter. In some cases, such as with Reddit and Netflix, businesses are calling deliberate attention to the cause via banners and pop-ups on their websites.
July 12 is also being marked by other pro-neutrality organizations, such as Fight for the Future, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and the American Civil Liberties Union.
Conspicuously absent is Apple, despite the growing importance of services like iCloud Drive and Apple Music. Tim Cook did discuss net neutrality with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in 2015, but the CEO has remained largely quiet otherwise. He has often been vocal about other topics such as privacy, the environment, and LGBT rights.
Net neutrality insists that all traffic be treated equally by ISPs. If the FCC abandons the principle, ISPs could conceivably created tiered experiences in which some sites and services are faster than others — such as their own, or ones from companies rich enough to pay. In extreme cases options could be throttled, blocked, or hidden behind paywalls.
Companies like T-Mobile have already been skirting the edges of regulations with "zero-rating" practices, in which favored services don't count against bandwidth caps.
On May 18, the FCC voted to advance a Pai proposal to reverse net neutrality protections. The official "Comment Date" on the matter is July 17.