Jeff John Roberts, Fortune (autoplaying video alert):
Until now, Google and Facebook—which have been staunch supporters of net neutrality in the past—have stayed out of the debate. But this week, they confirmed they will join other companies in telling consumers to oppose the FCC’s plan to tear up the current rules.
The participation of Google and Facebook in the day-of-action campaign could be a game-changer because their sites are visited by hundreds of millions of Americans, and a message from them could rally new opposition to the FCC plan.
The two tech giants have yet to explain what specific actions—such as displaying a banner on their homepage—they will take. In emails to Fortune, spokespeople for Facebook and Google confirmed the companies will participate but declined to provide additional details.
You know who else is participating? AT&T. Yeah, really — here’s their SVP of External and Legislative Affairs Bob Quinn:
Tomorrow, AT&T will join the “Day of Action” for preserving and advancing an open internet. This may seem like an anomaly to many people who might question why AT&T is joining with those who have differing viewpoints on how to ensure an open and free internet. But that’s exactly the point – we all agree that an open internet is critical for ensuring freedom of expression and a free flow of ideas and commerce in the United States and around the world. We agree that no company should be allowed to block content or throttle the download speeds of content in a discriminatory manner. So, we are joining this effort because it’s consistent with AT&T’s proud history of championing our customers’ right to an open internet and access to the internet content, applications and devices of their choosing.
That “proud history of championing [their] customers’ right to an open internet” includes notable moments like when they blocked FaceTime over cellular unless customers were subscribed to one of a selection of very specific data plans — a move which Bob Quinn shamelessly defended — and when they favoured their own DirecTV service over competing streaming video platforms.