Several large and very popular websites, including Netflix and WordPress will be participating in an event known as “Internet Slowdown Day” on September 10th. The event, organized by several consumer advocacy groups, is being held to raise public awareness in the ongoing Net Neutrality debate and the imminent deadline (Sept 15) for public comments on the FCC’s proposed guidelines that govern how internet service providers operate. Chief among the concerns many have with the FCC’s proposal are the plans to allow ISP’s to establish premium fastlanes for content providers who can afford to pay extra. The easiest way to imagine how this might work is picturing someone paying to jump to the front of the line at a crowded amusement park.
What this mean for you:
In terms of September 10th, the various participants (this website included) aren’t actually slowing down delivery of content. Instead, they will be showing their support for Net Neutrality by prominently displaying various text and images that “simulate” what the internet would be like without Net Neutrality. Though it takes various forms depending on the platform and device on which it appears, everyone is intimately familiar with the “Loading, please wait…” animation. Regardless of how colorful, fancy or soothing it may try to appear, waiting for something to load is always aggravating and inconvenient. If you are still unsure what the fuss is about have a look at this video. It’s not the most objective of presentations, but it does a good job of explaining why Net Neutrality is worth preserving.