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Pro-net neutrality activist group Fight for the Future has put up a series of billboards shaming Republican members of Congress who want to eliminate the Federal Communications Commission’s net neutrality rules and classification of broadband providers as common carriers.
The billboards in the lawmakers’ home states urge people to contact their elected officials and say that a net neutrality repeal will lead to “slower, censored, and more expensive Internet.” The signs were paid for by hundreds of small donations, the group said. Broadband providers Comcast, Verizon, and Charter get shoutouts on the billboards as well.
“Voters from across the political spectrum all agree that they don’t want companies like Comcast and Verizon dictating what they can see and do online,” Fight for the Future Campaign Director Evan Greer said in an announcement yesterday. “No one is fooled by corrupt lawmakers’ attempts to push for bad legislation while they strip Internet users of protections at the FCC. Hundreds of people donated to make these billboards possible. When you come for the Internet, the Internet comes for you.”
Fight for the Future also helped organize the recent Day of Action to Save Net Neutrality.
The group said its billboards “feature some of the few members of Congress who came out with early support for [the] FCC’s plan to repeal net neutrality rules.” They include Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), who chairs a telecommunications subcommittee and previously filed legislation she calls the “Internet Freedom Act” to overturn the FCC rules. After FCC Chairman Ajit Pai proposed a repeal of the rules this year, Blackburn called it a “positive step” that will make sure the Internet is not “under heavy government control.”
One billboard pictures Senator John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, who proposes overturning the common carrier classification while enacting a “permanent legislative solution for net neutrality that would ban blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization of Internet traffic.”
There are also billboards for Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Rep. Tom Graves (R-Ga.), and Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.). As Fight for the Future noted, all of them have supported efforts to undo the current net neutrality rules.
“The billboards highlight the increasing scrutiny on Congress, [which has] important oversight authority over the FCC,” Fight for the Future’s announcement said. “With no viable legislation on the table, net neutrality supporters remain opposed to any attempt at legislation that would undermine the strong rules at the FCC, which were fought for by millions of Americans.”
In May, the activist group put up similar billboards featuring Republican members of Congress who voted to eliminate broadband privacy rules.
Disclosure: The Advance/Newhouse Partnership, which owns about 13 percent of Charter, is part of Advance Publications. Advance Publications owns Condé Nast, which owns Ars Technica.