Today, a chorus of major Internet companies answered activists’ call for a symbolic “Internet Slowdown” protest on September 10th to encourage the FCC to change its current course and take necessary steps to protect net neutrality through Title II reclassification.
Several top websites -- including Etsy, Kickstarter, Foursquare, Wordpress, Vimeo, reddit, Mozilla, Imgur, Meetup, Cheezburger, Namecheap, Bittorrent, and Dwolla — announced that they will be joining more than 35 advocacy organizations and hundreds of thousands of activists in a day of action that will give a glimpse into what the Internet might look like if the FCC’s proposed rules go into effect. The protest comes just 5 days before the FCC’s next comment deadline on September 15th.
An explanation of the protest, and previews of the Internet Slowdown widgets, can be found here: https://battleforthenet.com/sept10th.
Sites participating in the slowdown will display prominent messages that include an infinitely-spinning “site loading” icon -- or the so-called “spinning wheel of death” -- to symbolize what surfing the web could be like without net neutrality. These alerts will direct the sites’ users to call and/or email policymakers in support of net neutrality.
The names of some of the most well-known companies participating were revealed this morning in a blog post from Engine Advocacy, found here. More companies and other partners will be named in the days leading up to the September 10th protest.
For more background, see this press release from more than 20 advocacy organizations who are supporting the Internet Slowdown. Many companies and organizations will directing users to Battleforthenet.com, a site maintained by advocacy groups Fight for the Future, Demand Progress, and Free Press, who initiated the Internet Slowdown effort.
The FCC’s proposal would be a huge boon for the cable companies, and would undermine the Internet as we know it.
Under the proposed rules, cable giants like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon would be able to create a two-tiered Internet, with slow lanes (for most of us) and fast lanes (for wealthy corporations that are willing pay fees in exchange for fast service).
Cable companies would have the power to discriminate against online content and applications — they could pick winners and losers, shake sites down for fees, block content for political reasons, and make it easier for Internet users to view content the cable companies own.
But the FCC left open the possibility of issuing a stronger rule by reclassifying Internet service as a telecommunications service under Title II of the Telecommunications Act and requiring Internet service providers to deliver all content at equal speeds.
The FCC is expected to issue a final rule as soon as the end of the year.