Websites 'slow down' for net neutrality - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Websites 'slow down' for net neutrality

The Internet Slowdown is hoping to raise awareness about net neutrality and urges people to contact their lawmakers. (Source: Battleforthenet.com) The Internet Slowdown is hoping to raise awareness about net neutrality and urges people to contact their lawmakers. (Source: Battleforthenet.com)
Websites are 'slowing down' to show users what the FCC's proposed rules might make the internet look like. (Source: Battleforthenet.com) Websites are 'slowing down' to show users what the FCC's proposed rules might make the internet look like. (Source: Battleforthenet.com)

(RNN) - Some popular and big names on the internet will slow down service Wednesday as part of a protest against the Federal Communication Commission's proposed changes to the open internet.

Websites and organizations such as Netflix, Reddit, Imgur, the ACLU, Mozilla and more are coming together in solidarity against the FCC's proposed rules as part of the Internet Slowdown, organized by Battle for the Net, a coalition of groups for net neutrality.

The slowdown comes in the form of messages and animated loading icons, which Battle for the Net said will "remind everyone what an internet without net neutrality would look like."

"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 cable content," Battle for the Net said on its website.

The protest is hoping to spread awareness about the issue and urge people to call their senators and representatives and tell them to reclassify the internet as Title II, or "common carrier."

Reclassifying the internet as a "common carrier" would make it a utility - like phone lines, which would place the internet under tighter government regulation.

Battle for the Net is a project of Fight for the Future, which is a nonprofit organization that advocates for digital rights, including online privacy and objecting to censorship on the web.

Wednesday's action is the latest in a series of protests, which began this spring when the FCC announced proposed rule changes which would allow internet content providers to charge for "fast lane" access, or charge websites extra money to allow users a faster connection to their services.

It's a plan critics say will make it so only the most profitable websites will come across at full speed, stifling innovation and allowing internet providers to possibly slow down or block websites they don't like.

Such deals have already happened. In March, Netflix signed a deal with Comcast that would give the streaming service a direct connection through their lines. According to CNN, the deal reportedly sped up Netflix's service for Comcast users by 50 percent.

Netflix's deal, and others like it, were formed this year since the original net neutrality rules that the FCC had adopted were struck down in January by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The court's decision left the status of net neutrality, or whether internet providers such as Comcast and Time Warner have the ability to decide what content comes through their lines, up in the air.

The comment period on the proposed "fast lane" rules, which was extended after the sheer amount of comments overloaded the FCC's website, will end on Sept. 15. The FCC will be hosting an Open Internet Roundtable to discuss possible policy approaches on Sept. 16, but a date for a vote on the proposed rules has not yet been announced.

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