To put your mind at ease, the internet won’t actually be slowed down, instead these are symbolic landing pages laid on by the likes of Reddit, Vimeo, Foursquare, Wordpress, Netflix (in the US), and others to show what it would be like if controversial new internet changes came into effect.
The proposed internet changes in the US plan for a tiered structure whereby providers would introduce ‘fast lanes’ for high-speed, high-quality browsing for those who will pay for it, with the rest receiving a standard service.
The sites are joining hands for net neutrality, arguing all internet should be treated the same. Proposed legislation in the US could leave millions of people with very slow access.
Sites are showing their opposition with Internet Slowdown Day to demonstrate what living with the changes would be like by putting up an infinitely loading icon. The website battleforthenet.com is the main stage for the online activists to meet, sign-up and join the fight.
Movie streaming site Netflix is one of the biggest supporters of the cause, as it could mean only a portion of its users could gain access to its high-definition content, and if others are only able to see standard quality content it is concerned it may lose user numbers.
The proposed new internet rules were leaked by the US Federal Communications Commission in part of a redrafting of internet rules. In the document it said it would allow broadband providers to offer “paid prioritisation” for faster internet access.
So what about us in Australia? The proposed changes are an American issue and don’t directly impact us. With most of our broadband providers offering capped data allowances it wouldn’t be in their interest to restrict usage because the more we use, the more we pay. However, if they did come into effect in the US it could be very easy for our telcos and broadband providers to copy and actively throttle certain sites so you use their services.
Net neutrality laws could also have a knock-on effect, and see the sites we use regularly (particularly the ones in the US) change the way they operate or alter their content.
Currently the decision to implement these changes is still being debated but if it came into effect it could cause one of the biggest uproars in internet history as more companies and websites join the fight for net neutrality.
news.com.au 9 Sep 2014