Netflix, Tumblr Among Sites Demonstrating for Net Neutrality
If you planned to watch your favorite series on Netflix, geek out on Tumblr or catch up with what’s trending on Reddit today, you’re going to see a lot of those annoying “loading” wheels that pop up when you have a slow connection.
Several popular websites are participating today in what’s been dubbed Internet Slowdown Day. When you log onto the sites, you’ll see a spinning wheel meant to demonstrate how long you’d have to wait for content to load on the site if such sites were relegated to the so-called “internet slow lane” that some argue would emerge if the FCC’s current Open Internet Proposal is accepted. The proposal would allow major service providers like Comcast, Time Warner Cable and AT&T to offer higher-tier service to websites willing to pay more for the privilege.
Opponents of the proposal say that would relegate many sites, including those of small businesses, to the slow lane, which ISPs would have less incentive to maintain and improve upon. They argue that broadband internet service should fall under common carrier laws that currently govern phone service and other utilities, thus offering a fair and level playing field.
Most of the turning wheel icons displayed across the web today will contain hyperlinks to petitions in favor of net neutrality or to sites with information on how to contact members of Congress in order to urge them to support neutrality as well. The FCC will have the final decision, but Congress can put pressure on them and even float legislation in support of the agency.
Sites like Netflix , Vimeo and other video streaming sites that see heavy traffic say their users would experience unreasonably slow loading times if the current FCC proposal is accepted. Sites like crowdfunding resource Kickstarter argue that internet startups and small businesses looking to grow by generating their own websites and content would be harmed significantly, which could hurt the economy and reduce competition.
The FCC is accepting public comments on the current proposal until September 15.