The Federal Communications Commission is set to vote Thursday on whether to repeal the 2015 Obama-era regulations protecting net neutrality, laws which ensure an open and free internet.
A group of 21 pioneers of the internet including Vinton G. Cerf, often dubbed the "father of the internet" for his early work developing the technology, and Steve Wozniak, the co-founder of Apple, published an open letter demanding the Restoring Internet Freedom Order vote be canceled.
The tech giants don't tread lightly: "You don't understand how the Internet works," the header of the statement reads, referring to the FCC.
"We are the pioneers and technologists who created and now operate the Internet, and some of the innovators and business people who, like many others, depend on it for our livelihood. We are writing to respectfully urge you to call on FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to cancel the December 14 vote," the letter, published Monday, reads.
It's addressed to four members of Congress, all of whom hold roles on the technology and innovation committees: Roger Wicker (R, Miss.), Brian Schatz (D, Hawaii), Marsha Blackburn (R, Tenn.) and Michael F. Doyle (D, Penn.). None have responded, signatory Scott Bradner tells CNBC Make It on Wednesday.
In a piece he penned for The Wall Street Journal, Chairman Pai lobbies for a repeal of the current neutrality mandates, which require internet access providers like Verizon, AT&T, Charter and CNBC parent company Comcast to be equal in their distribution of bandwidth. Instead, he favors a framework that requires such companies simply to be "transparent" about distribution of service. He argues the Obama-era mandates are too "heavy-handed."
However, according to the letter, repealing these regulations will eliminate key protections that "prevent Internet access providers from blocking content, websites and applications, slowing or speeding up services or classes of service, and charging online services for access or fast lanes to Internet access providers' customers." There would be inadequate protections for "consumers, free markets and online innovation," reads the letter.
Additionally, the signatories assert the FCC's proposed order "is based on a flawed and factually inaccurate understanding of Internet technology," and refer back to a 43-page dossier submitted by a group of some 200 internet pioneers in July, which, among other things explains these inaccuracies.
#NetNeutrality allowed me to invent the web. If protections are scrapped, innovators will have to ask ISPs for permission to get their ideas out – a disaster for creativity. A disaster for the internet. Tell your Reps to stop the vote.
"In short, if the current rules are not preserved, the rapid pace of innovation the Internet has experienced over the last forty years could come to a disastrous halt," the July dossier declares.
Monday's letter also says the review process for the proposed rule has been unacceptable.
"The FCC's online comment system has been plagued by major problems that the FCC has not had time to investigate. These include bot-generated comments that impersonated Americans, including dead people, and an unexplained outage of the FCC's on-line comment system that occurred at the very moment TV host John Oliver was encouraging Americans to submit comments to the system," the letter published Monday says.