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WASHINGTON – On Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission voted to propose a new “open Internet” rule that may let Internet service providers charge content companies for priority treatment, relegating other content to a slower tier of service.

Hundreds of protesters gathered outside the FCC before the vote to condemn the plan and urge the FCC to protect Net Neutrality. Beating drums and chanting “Save the Internet,” they heard speeches from Internet freedom advocates and social justice activists before streaming into the meeting.

Free Press President and CEO Craig Aaron made the following statement:

“Millions of people have put the FCC on notice. A pay-for-priority Internet is unacceptable. Today, both Commissioners Mignon Clyburn and Jessica Rosenworcel stated that they support prohibitions on paid prioritization and other forms of unreasonable discrimination. Tom Wheeler spoke passionately about the open Internet, but his rousing rhetoric doesn't match the reality of his proposal. The only way to accomplish the chairman’s goals is to reclassify Internet service providers as common carriers.

“The Commission says it wants to hear from the public; it will be hearing a lot more. This fight will stretch into the fall, but there’s one clear answer: The American people demand real Net Neutrality, and the FCC must restore it.

“We’re encouraged by much of what was said during today's meeting. But words amount to little without the rules to back them up. If Chairman Wheeler is sincere in his objections to a fast-lane, slow-lane Internet, then reclassification is the only way to prevent this terrible scenario from becoming a reality.”

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