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'Internet Slowdown' is Coming, Warn Groups

Top websites partaking in September 10 day of action in support of net neutrality

During the Internet slowdown, participating sites will display the proverbial "spinning wheel of death" and advocate users to submit comments to FCC chairman Tom Wheeler. (Image via Fight for the Future)

Calling attention to the widespread disruption that will occur if Internet 'fast lanes' become the norm for wealthy websites, grassroots groups have organized a widespread Internet Slowdown Day on Wednesday to voice their support for net neutrality.

A number of the Internet's largest companies including Etsy, Kickstarter, Mozilla, reddit, Foursquare, Vimeo, and Wordpress have announced that they will also join in the September 10th action by displaying an alert with a symbolic "spinning wheel of death" loading symbol and pushing individuals to submit comments to the Federal Communications Commission, Congress and the White House.

"As that wheel spins, the rules about how the Internet works are being redrawn," Amy Goodman wrote this week.

As Goodman explains, large Internet service providers, or ISPs— such as Comcast, Time Warner, AT&T and Verizon— are "trying to change the rules that govern your online life," by creating a two-tiered Internet where certain content providers will pay to get preferred access on an Internet "fast lane."

Current FCC chairman Tom Wheeler is currently weighing a new classification for the Internet that could be a "huge boon" for big cable companies, according to protest organizers Fight for the Future. Those participating are calling on Wheeler and the federal government to protect Internet democracy and reclassify the web as a telecommunications service under Title II of the Telecommunications Act, which will mandate that ISPs deliver all content at equal speeds.

The FCC is expected to issue a final rule as soon as the end of the year.

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