Like Countable?

Install the App
TRY NOW

The Battle for The Net: Big Sites Go Slow to Protest Trump Net Neutrality Changes

by Countable | 7.12.17

Does your internet feel slow today? Taking longer than usual to load Netflix, Facebook or Google?

Do not adjust your router -- what you’re likely experiencing is the "Net Neutrality Day of Action."

Many of the internet’s most trafficked sites, like Netflix, Amazon, Google, Facebook, Etsy, Reddit, PornHub, Spotify and hundreds of other companies and organizations, are showing their support for the fight to keep the internet neutral. Their hope is to show users what the cyber-world could look like if the Trump administration succeeds in rolling-back Obama-era net neutrality regulations.

The idea of "net neutrality" is that all internet traffic should be free to run at equal speeds. Some large internet service providers (ISPs) support rules that would allow them to prioritize or speed-up the communications of certain sites over others, or even block some sites. Under current law, ISPs like Comcast, Verizon and AT&T are barred from dictating which sites their clients may access, or throttle-down the speed of certain sites.

To better understand this theory in practice, consider Comcast, just one of many large companies that delivers the internet to millions of Americans. Comcast is affiliated with television producer NBC. Without net neutrality rules, Comcast would be free to promote NBC’s content over ABC’s, and/or provide slower load times for ABC.com. The internet is currently an open superhighway; without net neutrality, that highway could have fast and slow lanes.

ISPs promised the FCC they’d never engage in such behavior. Still, in 2015 the FCC crafted regulations to bar ISPs from throttling speeds and giving preference to some sites over others. Now, President Trump’s fresh appointee to head the FCC, Ajit Pai, has proposed reversing these regulations. Pai said the rules unfairly burden the ISPs, especially "mom and pop" ones, and that the government should not preemptively impose regulations on ISPs. Others have made the argument that consumers who use “less internet” shouldn’t be charged the same price as those who, say, binge on shows streamed from Netflix and Hulu.

All these digital fights and skirmishes have led to this so called "Battle for the Net." Websites, users and online communities are sounding a collective call-to-arms over what they believe is the FCC’s attack on net neutrality. Mobile apps are sending push notifications that encourage users to send comments to Congress and the FCC. Websites are displaying alerts about what the internet could look like without net neutrality rules, including pop-ups reading: “Sorry, we’re stuck in the slow lane”; “This site has been blocked by your ISP”; “Please upgrade your plan to proceed.

None of these pop-ups will actually slow, block, or put a paywall on your browsing experience, they’re only meant to give users a look at what the future internet could look like without net neutrality rules.

Other groups are circulating gifs and memes that users can share on social media. One meme features a cat holding a golden pistol riding a fire-breathing unicorn in front of a rainbow stretching over a castle from Mario Bros.

The Battle For the Net is on. Which side are you on? Should the web remain neutral? Or should ISPs treat the internet more like cable TV, offering tiered payment plans for the sites and apps you use? Hit the Take Action button and tell your Reps!

--Josh Herman

(Photo Credit: Battleforthenet.com)

Countable

Written by Countable

Leave a comment
(1,012)
  • Joanne
    07/12/2017
    ···

    The FCC's Open Internet Rules (net neutrality rules) are extremely important to me. I urge you to protect them. I don't want ISPs to have the power to block websites, slow them down, give some sites an advantage over others, or split the Internet into "fast lanes" for companies that pay and "slow lanes" for the rest. Now is not the time to let giant ISPs censor what we see and do online. Censorship by ISPs is a serious problem. Comcast has throttled Netflix, AT&T blocked FaceTime, Time Warner Cable throttled the popular game League of Legends, and Verizon admitted it will introduce fast lanes for sites that pay-and slow lanes for everyone else-if the FCC lifts the rules. This hurts consumers and businesses large and small. Courts have made clear that if the FCC ends Title II classification, the FCC must let ISPs offer "fast lanes" to websites for a fee. Chairman Pai has made clear that he intends to do exactly this. But if some companies can pay our ISPs to have their content load faster, startups and small businesses that can't pay those fees won't be able to compete. You will kill the open marketplace that has enabled millions of small businesses and created the 5 most valuable companies in America-just to further enrich a few much less valuable cable giants famous for sky-high prices and abysmal customer service. Internet providers will be able to impose a private tax on every sector of the American economy. Moreover, under Chairman Pai's plan, ISPs will be able to make it more difficult to access political speech that they don't like. They'll be able to charge fees for website delivery that would make it harder for blogs, nonprofits, artists, and others who can't pay up to have their voices heard. I'm sending this to the FCC's open proceeding, but I worry that Chairman Pai, a former Verizon lawyer, has made his plans and will ignore me and millions of other Americans. So I'm also sending this to my members of Congress. Please publicly support the FCC's existing net neutrality rules based on Title II, and denounce Chairman Pai's plans. Do whatever you can to dissuade him. Thank you! - Facebook

    Like (502)
    Follow
    Share
  • Ethan
    07/12/2017
    ···

    Ending net neutrality would be absolutely disastrous for a free market. New and upcoming businesses would be at a disadvantage given that much larger companies would be able to prioritize their internet speeds. In a world of growing connection through the internet, this could be quite devastating for new internet based businesses. Any elected official supporting this legislation does not respect the free market of the United States and the entrepreneurs of this great nation. For these reasons I would encourage my elected officials to vote against this legislation in the interest of retaining the fairness of the market and giving entrepreneurs full freedom to grow their business in the era of technology.

    Like (211)
    Follow
    Share
  • Rosemary
    07/12/2017
    ···

    Today I called my rep's office - Barbara Comstock (R) VA 10th district, to voice my support for net neutrality. I questioned her office staff about her views on this important issue. I also asked for explanation of how her staff gathers and tallies the views of constituents who call or write in with their opinions on this/other issues. I asked how that tally is made public - to be able to see if she votes for how the majority of her constituents feel, actually "representing them" - or if instead it seems she votes for an agenda of her own or her out-of-state/corporate/party money donors. I got a form letter response, indicating she favors the repeal of Net Neutrality as being better for technology, innovation, and provider infrastructure. She did not address my desire to see her constituents' views in a tallied, public format. Her response to Net Neutrality shows me she favors the desires of big corporations over the widely held view of the value of Net Neutrality, that value held not only by constituents like me but also by well over 100 technology companies such as Google, Apple etc. Ms. Comstock's response made me question...does she actually USE the Internet herself - independent research on the issues she has such power over - or does she have no need for independent research and thought because her vote is tied totally to the desires of the Republican Party and their oligarchal donors. Ms. Comstock. HOLD a Town Hall and have the guts to listen to any all constituents who care to show up and voice their views. Show some integrity. The form letters get an "F."

    Like (139)
    Follow
    Share
  • Kathy
    07/12/2017
    ···

    Please defend Net Neutrality, fight for us and not big Corporations

    Like (94)
    Follow
    Share
  • Jessica
    07/12/2017
    ···

    The open internet is vital to our country’s future. It enables the entrepreneurship that makes our country strong and provides gainful employment for millions, it fosters independent voices and community involvement, and keeps our democracy vibrant and strong. The internet is also a tool widely used in education our country’s young people, and an important resource for continuing education and adults studying for new career opportunities.  We should not allow ISPs to hold American people hostage by applying a virtual tax on every sector of our economy. We need to grow our economy by preserving the vital lifeline of the open internet, not enriching a few companies at the cost of choking off such an important avenue of commerce, innovation, and education.  Please preserve the existing net neutrality rules based on Title II. Ending the open internet does not serve the majority of Americans, or the future of this vibrant country.  Thank you! 

    Like (78)
    Follow
    Share
  • Mark
    07/13/2017
    ···

    This is first and foremost a freedom of speech & freedom of information issue. Trump would like nothing more than to have his friends slow down or block sites he falsely labels as fake news. The religious right would love to block sites giving information on women's health care, or sites debunking their false "creation science". Do not let them chip away at our freedom!

    Like (51)
    Follow
    Share
  • Alejandro
    07/12/2017
    ···

    The internet is where many people spend most of their waking lives. We cannot, as a nation of civil liberties, afford to give up our influence and give in to these giant corporations that want to limit and select what we as people are exposed to. We wouldn't want to restrict our physical selves. Don't restrict our digital selves.

    Like (44)
    Follow
    Share
  • Carolina
    07/12/2017
    ···

    Defend net neutrality!

    Like (40)
    Follow
    Share
  • Melissa
    07/12/2017
    ···

    "Net neutrality" is critical and necessary. Please vote in opposition of changing current laws and regulations that establish internet neutrality. Big ISP companies should not have control over what information I can and cannot easily access.

    Like (30)
    Follow
    Share
  • KylePetyak
    07/12/2017
    ···

    Vote to uphold net neutrality. To over turn this would be a horrible step in the wrong direction. 1984 is a book, let us not make it a reality.

    Like (22)
    Follow
    Share
  • Evan
    07/12/2017
    ···

    The printing press during our Age of Enlightenment was the sacrosanct tool of democracy and the free exchange of ideas. National identities were formed with it, Kings died when they were restricted. Now, we have the internet, which may be the last place I can go to get unbiased, unaffiliated information and news, as our media has turned into a ratings-focused circus or the propaganda arm of a specific party. Eliminating Net Neutrality would restrict this freedom of speech for the sake of "mom and pop" ISP's, which do not exist. I live in Montana, and it's either dial-up or Spectrum. Used to more until they bought the last high speed ISP. All this does is give companies like Spectrum the power to further ruin my ability to browse their crappy internet. If a "mom and pop" ISP decides to set up shop and does manage to avoid immediate absorption, how am I supposed to get to their website? How am I supposed to learn what they offer? Immediately this law defeats it's "intended" purpose. Sure, other mediums provide, but what really distresses me is this will restrict "mom and pop" websites. Suddenly the growth of new internet phenomena would disappear. Things like YouTube probably wouldn't exist, because Spectrum already had a crappy video player that it gave priority to. All this bill does is give people who provide our internet the ability to control it as well, to charge rent on digital real estate that they directly benefit from, while shafting everything else. The internet as we know it will disappear unless we act to keep it safe.

    Like (22)
    Follow
    Share
  • Phil
    07/13/2017
    ···

    I don't want ISPs to have the power to block websites, slow them down, give some sites an advantage over others, or split the Internet into "fast lanes" for companies that pay and "slow lanes" for the rest. This is unfair and will Create unfair competition in the market place. Speed is directly attributed ecommerce conversion, so for ISPs to charge more is just like google favoriting web sites in searches or Facebook preferring face news over real news. David Berners Lee could have kept the World Wide Web a private corporation, but the entire planet benefits from a fair Internet.

    Like (19)
    Follow
    Share
  • Nancy
    07/13/2017
    ···

    Preservation of net neutrality is preserving democracy in the internet. Are you for big business or for the citizens of this country. So often of late, Congress votes for big business. Check the constitution- that's not who you serve.

    Like (18)
    Follow
    Share
  • Brendan
    07/12/2017
    ···

    Net neutrality is super important. Not only should ISPs be treated as common carriers, for which they used protection, but we as internet users need to keep the internet as egalitarian a place as it was designed to be. For this reason we need to protect net neutrality laws and regulations that prevent monopolistic companies from exploiting the internet loving world. To my rep please fight on behalf of net neutrality.

    Like (16)
    Follow
    Share
  • Megan
    07/12/2017
    ···

    Hello- please support a neutral internet!

    Like (11)
    Follow
    Share
  • Shannon
    07/13/2017
    ···

    Net neutrality is important to maintain. ISP's should not have the power to impact access speeds.

    Like (9)
    Follow
    Share
  • Brock
    07/12/2017
    ···

    The FCC's Open Internet Rules (net neutrality rules) are extremely important to me. I urge you to protect them. I don't want ISPs to have the power to block websites, slow them down, give some sites an advantage over others, or split the Internet into "fast lanes" for companies that pay and "slow lanes" for the rest. Now is not the time to let giant ISPs censor what we see and do online. Censorship by ISPs is a serious problem. Comcast has throttled Netflix, AT&T blocked FaceTime, Time Warner Cable throttled the popular game League of Legends, and Verizon admitted it will introduce fast lanes for sites that pay-and slow lanes for everyone else-if the FCC lifts the rules. This hurts consumers and businesses large and small. Courts have made clear that if the FCC ends Title II classification, the FCC must let ISPs offer "fast lanes" to websites for a fee. Chairman Pai has made clear that he intends to do exactly this. But if some companies can pay our ISPs to have their content load faster, startups and small businesses that can't pay those fees won't be able to compete. You will kill the open marketplace that has enabled millions of small businesses and created the 5 most valuable companies in America-just to further enrich a few much less valuable cable giants famous for sky-high prices and abysmal customer service. Internet providers will be able to impose a private tax on every sector of the American economy. Moreover, under Chairman Pai's plan, ISPs will be able to make it more difficult to access political speech that they don't like. They'll be able to charge fees for website delivery that would make it harder for blogs, nonprofits, artists, and others who can't pay up to have their voices heard. I'm sending this to the FCC's open proceeding, but I worry that Chairman Pai, a former Verizon lawyer, has made his plans and will ignore me and millions of other Americans. So I'm also sending this to my members of Congress. Please publicly support the FCC's existing net neutrality rules based on Title II, and denounce Chairman Pai's plans. Do whatever you can to dissuade him. Thank you!

    Like (8)
    Follow
    Share
  • Brad
    07/13/2017
    ···

    I see net neutrality like the roads and bridges of our country. The second you take away the ability for an industry to be competitive, there goes the appeal for innovation. Our net speeds will only get faster as the industry as a whole sees fit. Nothing will improve and advertisements will rule the land. I'd rather pay for the service I want than to keep running into pot holes or wonder if the bridge I am passing over will collapse today. Keep the innovation and let companies work towards greater competitive advantages!

    Like (6)
    Follow
    Share
  • Leslie
    07/13/2017
    ···

    Net neutrality is sacred. Don't rationalize handing over control of the internet to corporate entities as just doing away with burdensome regulations. Those regulations protect equal access. Corporations are profit control driven entities. The temptations would be too great for those entities to act neutrally. Do not roll back regulations!

    Like (6)
    Follow
    Share
  • Kyle
    07/13/2017
    ···

    In this day and age, a free and open internet is imperative. We inform ourselves and entertain ourselves though a vast system that honestly needs to remain free and open. I don't want to be denied or serve my slowed down because I can't afford to pay "premium services". Honestly, you can get "premium services" literally anywhere and in any industry, not just one ! As our voted Congress Men and Women, we employ you to use best judgement not just for the state, but for the country. This is one of the times you look Mr. Pai dead in his eyes and say that he is "Beyond corrupt, wrong, and greedy" for even trying to dismantle this. I assure you, this will backfire if passed in the worst possible way. Many people are already upset with other legislation. Now just IMAGINE the sheer wave of rage and fury if this is passed. I implore and urge you to DENY and VOTE NO! We DO NOT WANT THIS! Plus, you probably don't want this either if not on your professional but also personal side. You may be a Senator or Congressman, but you also try to save money right and not lavishly spend it on frivolous things? Do the right thing. Please. And do the right thing with healthcare and the environment.

    Like (5)
    Follow
    Share