Those who log into their favourite websites today may notice that things seem a bit... slow. It's not a service outage or a shoddy connection, but a coordinated protest in support of net neutrality provisions in the US.
A group called Battleforthenet is organizing the campaign in which participating sites plaster their pages with simulated "loading" images and spinning wheels designed to mimic content being slow to load on the site.
The groups notes that participants will not necessarily be slowing their own traffic, but rather using the images to raise awareness for net neutrality and the spectre of throttled traffic should ISPs be allowed to create "fast lane" tiers of service.
The images will include links to the site and a petition where users can sign a letter to US lawmakers and the FCC.
Backers of the project, which include the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), Fight For the Future and the Center for Media Justice hope that the campaign will raise awareness and increase citizen engagement with the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) as it continues to deliberate plans for implementing new open internet regulations.
"For months, the FCC has been collecting comments from the public about its proposed net neutrality guidelines, and hundreds of thousands of people have already spoken out. But we’re fast approaching the deadline for public engagement through the rulemaking process: September 15 is the end of the public comment period," wrote Rainey Reitman, activism director for the EFF.
"That's why the day of action on September 10 is so important — it’s our last big push to get the general public to speak out about net neutrality before the deadline."
Meanwhile, cable industry groups continue to warn against allowing the FCC to implement open internet provisions, including the 'common carrier' provision which would give the FCC more control over how carriers can operate.
The National Cable and Telecommunications Association (NCTA), a lobbyist group which represents cable carriers, said yesterday that common carrier rules would create a bureaucracy which slows down implementation of new technology.
"Just imagine if ISPs had to stand in line and fill out forms and wait for permission to increase broadband speeds, add Wi-Fi hotspots or create new TV Everywhere services. What would that look like?" the group wrote. "It would be a net disaster."
The FCC has set September 15th as the deadline for filing public comments. Thus far, observers have noted that the submissions have been overwhelmingly in favor of setting net neutrality provisions. ®