December 07, 2017 10:34 PM
Hundreds of protests in support of net neutrality broke out across the country Thursday night, including in Minnesota.
Protestors say they are fighting for a free and open internet. Opponents of net neutrality, meanwhile, said that couldn't be further from the truth.
So what exactly is net neutrality?
It's a rule saying internet service providers - like Verizon, Comcast and AT&T - must treat all web traffic equally. In other words, they can't purposely slow down some online content providers, for instance Netflix, while favoring others.
The Federal Communications Commission is set to vote on eliminating net neutrality rules next week.
"Net neutrality is like the First Amendment of the Internet," protest co-organizer Josh Braaten said Thursday night in St. Paul. "It protects free speech, it prevents throttling and it prevents corporations from charging consumers extra fees for things they get for free already on the Internet today."
Braaten's protest, like hundreds of others across the country, took place in front of a Verizon store. That's because FCC Chairman Ajit Pai used to be a top lawyer for the company.
Asked for comment, Verizon sent 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS the following statement:
"Verizon agrees with those publicly expressing their views today. Like those concerned, we fully support an open internet and believe consumers should be able to use it to access lawful content when, where, and how they want. We've publicly committed to that before and we stand by that commitment today."
A company spokesperson also pointed to this document - the company's Commitment to Broadband Internet Access Customers.
Asked to respond, protest co-organizer Elizabeth Blakemore said simply, "We don't believe them."
Updated: December 07, 2017 10:34 PM
Created: December 07, 2017 07:45 PM
Copyright 2018 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company