Comedian John Oliver, incensed over proposed changes to unravel Net neutrality protections for consumers, on Sunday unleashed a torrent of criticism against the Federal Communications Commission and urged viewers to register their protest online. The response led to a digital meltdown on the agency’s site that night.
Oliver, host of HBO’s Last Week Tonight and a former writer for The Daily Show, targeted a proposal by Ajit Pai, the agency’s new chairman, that would loosen Net neutrality regulations. It would allow Internet service providers to abide by market forces and largely self-police their conduct.
Pai last month proposed reversing the Obama administration’s decision to regulate ISPs under Title II, saying the move stifled innovation and made it more difficult for companies to invest and modernize.
Domestic broadband investment fell by US$3.6 billion, or 5.6 percent, from 2014 to 2016, he noted.
Oliver, who famously unleashed his viewers on the FCC in 2014, in the run-up to its implementation of Net neutrality rules, launched a blistering new attack on Pai, a former Verizon attorney.
Verizon represents itself as being in favor of an open Internet, Oliver noted, in a video featuring Craig Silliman, EVP for public policy and general counsel.
The FCC just wants to put the regulation of ISPs on a “different legal footing,” Silliman argues.
Verizon’s reasoning was analogous to O.J. Simpson asking why you won’t let him hold onto one of your Samurai swords, Oliver said.
“Come on, Juice, you know why,” he quipped.
The FCC’s website fell victim to distributed denial of service attacks starting Sunday night, according to…