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Web host throttles FCC access to 28.8kbps in protest at net neutrality plan

Warns of a Ferengi future for the internet
Mon May 12 2014, 13:23

Federal Communications Commission emblemA FRUSTRATED US web hosting company has throttled access to its websites for IP addresses used by the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in a protest over its recent net neutrality proposal.

The 28.8kbps slow lane to the IP address range used by the FCC has been implemented by Kyle Drake of Neocities, a small web hosting company, in response to plans outlined that would see the FCC sanction the use of paid "fast lanes" for companies wanting priority for their traffic.

Writing on the company blog, Drake has said, "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."

A speed of 28.8kbps is slower than average dial-up speeds of a decade ago, and although Neocities hosts a relatively small number of websites and there is no evidence that the FCC uses any websites hosted by the company, Mr Drake has posted the throttling code to Github, allowing others to follow his lead.

Last week, FCC commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel spoke out in defence of net neutrality, calling for a delay in making a decision to allow more time for public feedback, however this appears to have fallen on deaf ears, along with an alternative proposal drawn up by software developer Mozilla and an open letter from some of the biggest internet companies. An FCC decision on whether to proceed with its proposal is expected on 15 May.

The FCC has been advised that Neocities will lift the throttling for a payment of $1,000 under what it refers to as the "Ferengi Plan", after a race of Star Trek characters with ultra capitalist tendencies.

When asked about their ethics in an episode of Star Trek - Deep Space Nine, Quark, a Ferengi said, "Every Ferengi business transaction is governed by 285 rules of acquisition to ensure a fair and honest deal for all parties concerned... well most of them anyway."

Mr Drake argued, "If it bothers you that I'm doing this, I want to point out that everyone is going to be doing crap like this after the FCC rips apart Net Neutrality. It's time for the web to organise and stand up against these thugs before they ruin everything that the web stands for." µ


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