If you haven’t already heard, today has been deemed Internet Slowdown Day. If you’ve visited our site today, you probably noticed the large spinning loading icon banner when you first came to our site. So what exactly is Internet Slowdown Day, and why is it important?
The Internet Slowdown Day is a response to the FCC’s proposed changes to how the Internet fundamentally works. As of today, users sign up with an Internet Service Provider (ISP) and pay a per month charge for their Internet access and are generally free to access what they want, when they want. Most of these ISPs are tied to cable and/or telecommunication companies that also provide television and phone services as well. Many of them, such as Comcast, Verizon, AT&T, and Time Warner Cable, are fighting an uphill battle against so called cable cutters – those subscribers who are dropping cable service in favor of online streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, and others. As one can imagine, this loss in revenue hurts the bottom line of these cable companies.
As a result, these companies have banded together to petition the FCC to make changes and allow for these ISPs to charge content providers, such as Netflix, for priority access to customers provided the agreement is “commercially reasonable.” This essentially would create what some call a two-tiered Internet and charge larger companies to deliver their content quickly, while relegating smaller companies – or those who do not wish to pay – to a so called “slow lane”. One can only assume that the companies that do pay would in turn have to raise their subscription fees in order to cover the added cost.
Many companies, including Google, Amazon, and Facebook, have expressed major concerns for such changes and support Net Neutrality.
Net Neutrality means that the cable/telecom companies must provide us with open networks — and should not block or discriminate against any applications or content that ride over those networks. Just as your phone company cannot decide who you could call and what you say on that call, your ISP should not be concerned with what content you view or post online.
Fight for the Future is one organization who has taken the lead in the fight against the proposed FCC changes and are behind the Internet Slowdown Day initiative. Participating sites, like ourselves, Netflix, Reddit, Vimeo, Wikia, Tumbler, and more, can place widgets and banners on their sites today to simulate what life would be like with an Internet slow-lane. They’ve also provided a number of avatars and icons for individuals to use as well on social media sites.
We believe in the free and open Internet, with no arbitrary fees or slow lanes for sites that can’t pay. All of the people, companies, and organizations below have taken a stand for “Title II reclassification,” the only option that lets the FCC stop Team Cable from breaking the key principles of the Internet we love.
Nothing speaks louder than images and videos, and one of my favorites which explains Net Neutrality well is this video from John Oliver – a bit tongue in cheek in parts, but it does get the point across. Be warned, there is some NSFW language, but John Oliver really knocks it out of the park.
If you support Net Neutrality and are against a tiered Internet, take a couple minutes and sign the letter to members of Congress, the FCC, and the White House over at BattlefortheInternet.com. You can also make your comments known directly to the FCC.Source: Battleforthenet.com
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