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Websites across the internet launched a Red Alert for Net Neutrality campaign on Wednesday, aimed at urging senators to support open internet protections that were gutted by the FCC in December. (Photo: Fight for the Future)

'Time to Melt Some Phones' on Capitol Hill as Red Alert for Net Neutrality Hits Internet

"Net neutrality is not a partisan issue outside of Washington, D.C. Now we need to get D.C. to catch up with the rest of the country."

Julia Conley

As internet freedom supporters in the Senate attempt to force a vote to reverse the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) unpopular repeal of net neutrality rules, dozens of prominent websites went on "red alert" in support of the protections on Wednesday, hoping to prompt users to flood lawmakers' offices with phone calls, emails, and other messages pressuring them to reinstate net neutrality.

"The Internet is lighting up in protest once again, because this Senate vote will impact the future of the Web for years to come," said Evan Greer, deputy director of Fight for the Future, in a statement. "This is the most important moment in tech policy since the FCC repeal, and everyone should be paying attention. This is the moment for entire web to come together to fight. Net neutrality is not a partisan issue outside of Washington, D.C. Now we need to get D.C. to catch up with the rest of the country."

Etsy, Reddit, OKCupid, and Foursquare are just some of the websites launching Red Alerts for Net Neutrality on their websites on Wednesday, urging users to contact their senators and demand that they join 83 percent of Americans in supporting the reinstatement of net neutrality rules.

All 47 Democrats in the Senate along with Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Angus King (I-Maine), and Susan Collins (R-Maine) have committed to supporting net neutrality by filing a petition to force a vote on a bill that would overturn the FCC's decision. Although 75 percent of Republican voters polled reported that they supported net neutrality at the time, Collins is the only Republican who has agreed to represent those constituents' views.

The "Red Alert for Net Neutrality" campaign is aimed at securing one last supporter of the petition. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) has hinted at potential support for a bill, and Fight for the Future is urging net neutrality advocates in other states to call their senators, pointing to Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) as potential supporters.

Independent journalists, small businesses, and other non-corporate internet companies have been among the groups speaking out against the FCC's decision for months. The net neutrality rules that the FCC voted to repeal keep internet service providers (ISPs) like Verizon and Comcast from giving favorable treatment to large internet companies by offering faster delivery of their content in exchange for extra fees.

"Congress has the chance to rewind a terrible Trump administration policy decision, and one of its least popular, too," said Craig Aaron, president and CEO of Free Press Action Fund, in a statement. "There's only one way to stand up for real net neutrality—and to stand on the right side of history—and that's by voting for the resolution of disapproval to restore these essential safeguards. The public will be closely watching who's looking out for them and who's only serving phone and cable lobbyists."

"This is a moment to use the internet and its ability to reach millions of people, give those people the ability to contact their lawmakers on an unprecedented scale, and frankly melt some phones in Washington, D.C.," Greer told the Daily Beast.

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