May 9, 2014
Earlier this week, venture capitalist Brad Feld put up a good post concerning the risk of the FCC’s “open internet” rules actually turning into the ability for big broadband providers to set up a “fast lane” for large companies to pay for faster access to users. He suggested was that the best way to make clear how bad an idea this would be, would be to have internet companies demo the slow lane:
What if we did the same by Demoing the Slow Lane for a day. Algorithmically, all sites could slow themselves down dramatically, demonstrating what performance might look like over a 1/1 pipe. Or even a 0.5/0.5 pipe….
Let the world see “Waiting for”, “Connecting”, and “Buffering” show up in their browser continuously throughout the day. Explain what is going on. Then click a button to bypass the Slow Lane and get normal connectivity.
Instead of everyone getting tangled up in the legal question of what “net neutrality” means, consumers can see what could happen if / when ISPs can decide which companies get to use their fast lanes by paying extra and who is relegated to the slow lane.
It appears that (as many, many of you sent in), one web hosting company has adopted a somewhat modified plan based on a similar concept. Neocities has taken the FCC’s IP block and rate limited any traffic from the FCC to Neocities’ site down to the equivalent of a nostalgic 28.8Kbps modem (old man in me: I remember when those were considered “fast”).
Since the FCC seems to have no problem with this idea, I’ve (through correspondence) gotten access to the FCC’s internal IP block, and throttled all connections from the FCC to 28.8kbps modem speeds on the Neocities.org front site, and I’m not removing it until the FCC pays us for the bandwidth they’ve been wasting instead of doing their jobs protecting us from the “keep America’s internet slow and expensive forever” lobby.
Neocities will let the FCC use a fast lane for just $1,000 per year. Neocities has also released the code it used, in case anyone else would like to do the same thing.