You have probably noticed a "Slow Lane" message when you visited NG today. Newgrounds is participating in the Internet-Wide Day of Action to Save Net Neutrality.
Net Neutrality basically means that your internet provider can't control your access to individual websites / internet services.
For example, if Verizon wants you to use their video on demand service, they would benefit from slowing down your access to Netflix or YouTube.
This actually happened in 2013, when Verizon oversaturated connections to Cogent (a large bandwidth provider for both Netflix and Newgrounds at the time), throttling speeds. During this time Netflix video lagged during peak hours and Newgrounds loaded slowly as well. We were locked into a long-term contract with Cogent and this period severely hurt our traffic. I made several mentions of it at the time.
Without Net Neutrality, service providers could also sell access to websites as packages. For example you might pay Verizon for a package that includes fast access to Netflix and YouTube, whereas a smaller website such as NG would be left behind. Verizon could demand fees from every individual website if they wanted. We already pay a small fortune in bandwidth fees and Verizon collects fees from their end users - they shouldn't be trying to double dip and collect from both sides. The Internet was paid for by our tax dollars and broadband providers received huge subsidies to expand their networks. It's interesting that with cable TV, Verizon will actually pay ESPN to provide their content to users, whereas they don't have to pay companies like NG or YouTube a dime and could even charge us for access to end users.
On February 26, 2015, the FCC ruled in favor of net neutrality by reclassifying broadband as a common carrier. Since then, we've had Net Neutrality and there has been no need to re-legislate it, despite a lot of shady efforts by broadband providers to do so.
Take this example, where lobbyists essentially tricked civil rights groups into urging Senators to craft "a permanent statutory solution" to "solve" net neutrality - the groups thought they were taking a stand to protect Net Neutrality but we already had it and the goal was to re-open it on the floor in an attempt to weaken it.
Our current head of the FCC is a former Verizon lawyer and has been working to gut Net Neutrality since day one. Today's Day of Action is an opportunity to let our elected representatives know we won't be re-electing them if they follow along with this plan.
In March, 265 members of Congress successfully voted to eliminate our Internet privacy rights, meaning your ISP is allowed to sell your personal Internet usage data. Here is a list of who they are and how much they received in contributions from broadband providers. This legislation served no useful purpose to their constituents, the whole thing was just super disgusting and everyone involved should be booted out.
It's the same with Net Neutrality - you will never see a single benefit of Net Neutrality being undone, it will only make your life worse. The only people who stand to benefit from it are the near-monopoly of broadband providers and they are already doing just fine - they're probably enjoying the windfall of selling your browsing info!
Thanks for reading and sorry if the "Slow Lane" overlay startled you! It's important that everyone is aware of what is going on. Along with a million other issues, please keep this in mind the next time your chance to vote comes around.
Visit battleforthenet.com to send a letter to the FCC, voicing your support for Net Neutrality.