Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Verizon FCC protest

Protesters demonstrated outside Verizon stores across the country on Thursday, Dec. 7 to denounce the plan by Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai to turn over control of the internet to major service providers. (Photo: shauna gm/Twitter)

Shouting #StoptheFCC, Net Neutrality Defenders Target Lawmakers and Verizon Nationwide

Demonstrators gathered outside congressional offices and more than 700 Verizon stores nationwide to protest FCC Chairman Ajit Pai's plan to turn over control of the internet to major corporations

Jessica Corbett

With the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) slated to vote on Chairman Ajit Pai's plan to kill net neutrality on Dec. 14, open internet advocates and free press groups participated in planned protests on Thursday at congressional offices and more than 700 Verizon stores in all 50 states, plus D.C.

Ahead of the day of action, BattlefortheNet.com, Demand Progress, Fight for the Future, and Free Press Action Fund partnered to launch a website featuring an interactive map to help supporters locate demonstrations in their area as well as a three-page guide for organizing protests.

Protesters are targeting Verizon because Pai is a former lobbyist for the company, which has—along with major internet service providers (ISPs) Comcast and AT&T—invested heavily in pressuring lawmakers to support policies that benefit telecom companies at the expense of consumers.

Despite the ongoing lobbying efforts, those who have helped organize the demonstrations remain hopeful that widespread outrage over Pai's plan could push members of Congress to take action to protect net neutrality.

"Under Pai's leadership the FCC has made a mockery of our democratic process," said Fight for the Future campaign director Evan Greer. "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 Dec. 14."

"Despite the outpouring of support for net neutrality, the three men who make up the FCC's majority remain determined to ignore the democratic process and take away the rights of internet users," said Free Press Action Fund field director Mary Alice Crim, referring to the FCC's three Republican commissioners.

However, she also noted that "the outcry from beyond the Beltway is beginning to change many minds in Washington," and "phones are ringing off the hook on Capitol Hill as people take to the streets to put the public need for an open internet before the demands of Verizon lobbyists."

"One thing is certain," Crim concluded, "Chairman Pai won't have the last word on net neutrality."

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.

"As the past two weeks have shown, people reject the ongoing love affair between hated internet service providers and D.C. policymakers," said Demand Progress communications director Mark Stanley. "Democrats and Republicans alike are willing to take action against any threat to Net Neutrality rules that protect our online rights."

A Civis Analytics poll (pdf) released in July found that 77 percent of Americans—73 percent of Republicans, 80 percent of Democrats, and 76 percent of Independents—are in favor of keeping the FCC's open internet rules, and 81 percent "agree that ISPs should not be able to block or throttle websites, or charge extra for preferred access to consumers."

Demonstrators are sharing scenes from Thursday's protests on social media with the hashtags #StoptheFCC and #NetNeutrality. Participants toted signs with messages such as "Democracy is a free internet" and "All I want for Christmas is net neutrality."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

ACLU Demands 'Truly Systemic Overhaul' of US Civilian Harm Policies

"While a serious Defense Department focus on civilian harm is long overdue and welcome, it's unclear that this directive will be enough," says director of the legal group's National Security Project.

Jessica Corbett ·


'This Is Not Over': Alaska Supreme Court Rejects Youth Climate Case

"With the state continuing to undermine their health, safety, and futures," said the plaintiffs' lead counsel, "we will evaluate our next steps and will continue to fight for climate justice."

Jessica Corbett ·


Analysis Finds 'Staggering' Rise in Voter Suppression After GOP Restrictions in Georgia

"This is why we are fighting this new law in court," said one voting rights advocate.

Brett Wilkins ·


'Egregious': Pennsylvania Court Strikes Down Mail-In Voting Law

The ruling was stayed pending an appeal to the state's Supreme Court and as one voting advocate put it: "The fight's not over yet, folks."

Julia Conley ·


Big Win for Open Internet as Court Upholds California Net Neutrality Law

One legal advocate called the Ninth Circuit's opinion "a great decision and a major victory for internet users in California and nationwide."

Kenny Stancil ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo