Internet users will not suffer delays accessing US websites despite an “internet slowdown day” by major American websites.
Netflix, Reddit and Twitter are taking part in the event to protest a decision by an American court which overturned regulations that required internet service providers to treat all data passing through their networks equally. This, critics claim, could lead to ISPs charging extra fees to deliver online videos and other content at fast speeds while leaving those who do not pay up in the online slow lane.
According to the organisers, also joining the protest will be Kickstarter, Vimeo, Boing Boing Digg, Foursquare and Cheezeburger with many of the sites set to display an animation of a “spinning wheel” to represent the longer page loading times they say users will experience if data is not treated equally.
As part of the campaign internet users are being directed to a video by US comedian John Oliver in which he discusses the issue in a “not boringly way”. The video (below) has already had over five million views on YouTube
In April the European parliament voted to restrict ISPs from charging for faster network access – a measure, if it is agreed by ministers, which could become law across the whole European Union by 2015. Holland and Slovenia have already passed legislation enshrining the principle.
A spokesperson for the UK’s biggest ISP, BT, told the Drum that the company’s code of practice “lays out a clear, consistent and transparent set of net neutrality principles, treating all traffic consistently, regardless of its source, while being fully transparent about any types of traffic we may manage in order to minimise network congestion.”
Tech law columnist and lecturer Mark Leiser added: “Only 10 years ago MySpace was the dominant social network; there was no Spotify and there was no Netflix. This astounding innovation came about in large part because of the principle of net neutrality: traffic should all be treated the same.
“Net neutrality has been the cornerstone of the internet’s innovation and if it ain’t broke we shouldn’t try and fix it.”