Gateway Gazette

Canadian group hosts international platform for massive Internet Slowdown Day to show what Internet would be like if we lost net neutrality rules

OpenMedia.ca joins with major websites Netflix, reddit, and huge coalition as experts warn of damaging consequences for Canada if net neutrality is undermined in U.S. or here in Canada

Vancouver-based digital rights group OpenMedia.ca is joining with Netflix, reddit, Vimeo, and a huge international coalition to support Internet Slowdown Day. Dozens of major websites have agreed to show their users a perpetual ‘loading’ icon, to symbolize how the loss of net neutrality rules could slow many favourite websites to a crawl. To support the day of action OpenMedia.ca is hosting an action platform at http://StopTheSlowdown.net and encouraging Canadian websites to embed the web action widget found here.

The move comes against the backdrop of a crucial U.S. FCC hearing which could decide the future of net neutrality in the U.S. Large telecom conglomerates are pushing the FCC to do away with net neutrality, a move that would have major implications for Canadians and others around the world. Earlier this week, OpenMedia joined with over 60 organizations from over 25 nations to launch Big Telecom -v- The World, a week of action aimed at sounding a loud global call in defence of net neutrality. Over 120,000 people from around the world have signed on to the campaign in just 24 hours, making it OpenMedia’s most successful campaign launch of 2014.

“Our small team has been inspired to see so many Internet users from right across the planet speak out to defend net neutrality,” says OpenMedia.ca Executive Director Steve Anderson. “Now we’re planning to take the next step, and join with reddit, Netflix, and dozens of top websites to support Internet Slowdown Day. If the large telecom conglomerates get their way, people’s favourite websites could slow to a crawl, and the Internet could end up looking a lot more like cable TV. That’s why it’s so important to sound a loud global call that decision-makers won’t be able to ignore.”

Experts are already warning that Canada will face serious consequences if the FCC undermines net neutrality, given how much Canadian Internet traffic flows in and out of the U.S. Canadian Internet expert Peter Nowak told Vice Magazine that: “Sure, we have net neutrality rules here in Canada but if you don’t think our big ISPs are going to be emboldened now to circumvent them or try to re-open the conversation, well then you don’t know them very well.”

Award-winning author and open Internet advocate Cory Doctorow said: “The cable companies and telecoms operators are multinational, global, and ruthless. There’s only one Internet, and when greedy companies and captured regulators break it in one country, they weaken it across the planet. This is everybody’s fight, and with Big Telecom vs the World — initiated by the excellent Canadian activist group OpenMedia — there’s a tent big enough for all of us to fit in.”

Pro-Internet campaigners are also concerned that the U.S. FCC could set a worrying precedent for other nations. Decision-makers at the CRTC are conducting an investigation into whether large Canadian wireless providers are breaking net neutrality rules by discriminating against online content they don’t own. This follows revelations from researcher Ben Klass that Bell had been overcharging their customers a markup of 800% to watch Netflix instead of Bell-owned content on their mobile device.

Internet users are standing together to defend net neutrality around the world at StopTheSlowdown.net

About OpenMedia.ca

OpenMedia.ca is an award-winning community-based organization that safeguards the possibilities of the open Internet. We work toward informed and participatory digital policy by engaging hundreds of thousands of people in protecting our online rights.

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