You might have noticed a “spinning logo” banner on the JW Player Labs site today. We are participating in the 2014 Internet Slowdown. The banner will only be shown today, and only once to each site visitor.
We aren’t actually slowing down our site or software. The Slowdown is a coordinated symbolic act to raise awareness of the Net Neutrality debate. On the Internet, all data on the network is treated equally–it is a neutral, level playing field. The pages that are served from your personal blog are given no more or less priority than pages from other sites on the Web, even giants like Google or Facebook. The same is true for Skype calls, Netflix movies, and any other application that uses the Internet to transmit data packets.
Some of the largest Internet service providers (ISPs) are lobbying the U.S. government for permission to break this tradition and divide the Internet into slow and fast “traffic lanes”. The carriers would charge content providers extra for “fast lane” prioritization of their data.
This of course means that everyone not paying the “fast lane” toll gets stuck in the slow lane. If Net Neutrality is allowed to end, we could have an Internet where, say, Google pays ISPs to have their search results or maps delivered to users faster than Bing, or Netflix pays to have faster video delivery than Amazon.
The end of Net Neutrality would be very harmful to small- and medium-sized video publishers who don’t have millions of dollars to pay to ISPs for “fast lane” access. It would put them at a severe competitive disadvantage against large competitors. Such drastic imbalance in markets is never good for consumers.