Twitter, Netflix, Reddit and Upworthy are among dozens of technology companies that will take part in an “Internet slowdown” today to protest a U.S. commission’s proposal to allow telecom providers to prioritize data delivery.
Netflix, for instance, has a spinning-wheel icon – the symbol of slow connectivity – on their website but will run normally. Net neutrality supporters say there is a real possibility of some websites loading more slowly than others unless the telecom provider is paid extra.
In May this year, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) took the first step toward adopting new regulations that could create fast lanes for Internet traffic from websites that can afford to pay for the privilege.
Its recommendations moved the proposed rules governing “net neutrality” into a formal public comment period.
Under the FCC’s proposed rules, Internet providers would be able to charge other companies for priority, high-speed, access to their users.
Internet companies such as Netflix that do a lot of business online, and use a significant amount of data, don’t want to have to pay for reliable and fast delivery of online video, music and other content. They contend that’s something consumers are already financing when they pay $50 to $80 per month for high-speed Internet service from companies such as Comcast Corp., Time Warner Cable Inc. and Verizon Communications.
In May, Netflix said it was still concerned that the proposed approach could “legalize discrimination, harming innovation and punishing U.S. consumers with a broadband experience that’s worse than they already have.”
Meanwhile, smaller companies say they can’t afford to pay. And conservatives don’t like the idea of additional regulation over the Internet and the companies that provide it.
Advocates for an open Internet are outraged.
President Barack Obama strongly supports net neutrality and an open Internet.