Netflix, Other Websites Stage Net Neutrality Protest10 Sep, 2014 By: Erik Gruenwedel
Netflix Sept. 10 joined 67 other Internet brands such as Vimeo, Reddit, Mozilla and Twitter in a symbolic day-long “slowdown” of streaming video to underscore their displeasure at the Federal Communications Communication’s pending net neutrality guidelines.
Dubbed “Battle for the Internet,” the sites throughout the day will feature images of endless spinning wheels and crawling space bars to illustrate what they allege Internet video will look like should major ISPs such as cable companies and telecom operators be allowed to charge companies for enhanced streaming functionality.
While there won’t be any actual slowdown in streaming speeds, the sites are posting links that enable visitors to contact their state and federal lawmakers to voice their opinion on net neutrality.
The hot button issue re-emerged earlier this year when an appeals court struck down provisions of the FCC’s net neutrality guidelines. FCC chairman Tom Wheeler — a former cable industry lobbyist — raised eyebrows thereafter when he advocated support for ISPs charging fees for tiered levels of streaming speed, or megabytes per second (Mbps).
Since the court decision, Netflix, which generates the highest volume of streaming traffic during primetime viewing hours, has reluctantly signed interconnection deals with Comcast, AT&T, Time Warner Cable and Verizon to ensure that its subscribers using those ISPs not experience pauses, buffering and other issues when streaming video.
While Netflix considers the fees an added tax, its argument to lawmakers is that such a scenario hinders a level playing field on the Internet, especially for smaller companies and services.