Dozens of websites are participating in an “Internet slowdown” protest Wednesday to raise awareness of what they believe a Web without net neutrality would look like.
Sites like Netflix, Etsy, and Metafilter are sporting spinning-wheel icons that never load. The icons don’t slow down the sites, but instead urge users to contact their congressmen to lobby the Federal Communications Commission to protect net neutrality, the belief that all Internet traffic should be regulated equally.
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has proposed new rules this year for regulating the Internet that would make it possible for broadband providers to encourage content companies to pay extra for “Internet fast lanes,” where some websites are given preferential treatment to others.
Or as Battle for the Net, one of the Wednesday protest organizers, puts 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).”
Wheeler’s proposal has proved unpopular, to say the least, among advocates of net neutrality. They’ve inundated the FCC with more than 1.2 million comments against the new rules, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Wednesday’s protest is designed to be the finisher that drives the point home to the FCC and Congress alike.
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