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Net neutrality protest in Cedar Rapids one week ahead of FCC vote

Protesters say they're defending their right to freedom of information. They fear internet giants like Verizon, AT&T, and Comcast will monopolize the market without net neutrality rules limiting providers' abilities to slow, block or speed up online traffic.{ }

Protesters gathered in the corridor and throughout the country to defend net neutrality.

The FCC is considering doing away with rules that say internet service providers must enable access to all content and applications regardless of the source, and without favoring or blocking particular products or websites.

Protesters say they're defending their right to freedom of information. They fear internet giants like Verizon, AT&T, and Comcast will monopolize the market without net neutrality rules limiting providers' abilities to slow, block or speed up online traffic.

"This is anti-consumer," says protest organizer, Doug McVicar, "This is not a republican versus democrat issue... if you use the internet, this effects you."

McVicar also fears this will impact small media start-ups. He says it's likely that the large internet providers will charge media companies like Hulu and Netflix a large amount of money to access their network, and in doing so, the consumer would also pay more. "What you're really going to lose is the next Youtube, the next Netflix, the next Hulu that comes down the pipeline. A small start-up is not going to have that money so then you're truly stifling innovation."

CEO of cybersecurity firm ProCircular, Aaron Warner, questions the motives behind the current chairman of the FCC.

"It's probably no secret that Ajit Paid, the head of the FCC is a former senior attorney with Verizon, so it's not necessarily a huge leap in logic to assume that perhaps that's affecting his judgment," said Warner.

Protests hope that by taking to the streets, others will be encouraged to reach out to their representatives ahead of the December 14th vote.

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