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    Sep 10, 2014

    Tech giants' call to arms against online 'fast lanes'


    STREAMING-TV titan Netflix will be among websites displaying a dreaded spinning-wheel icon today to rally support for blocking Internet "fast lanes".

    It's part of a massive "Internet slowdown" protest - joined by dozens of top Internet firms and advocacy groups, including WordPress and the American Civil Liberties Union.

    The spinning symbols - usually used to denote a slow-loading page - won't actually slow website performance, but they will link to, where ways to take action to defend "net neutrality" are listed.

    Netflix posted the link on Monday on its Twitter account, urging others to join the campaign.

    More than 100 technology firms - including titans Microsoft, Google, Facebook and Twitter - came out in May against suggested rules from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that seemingly run counter to the cherished ideal of "net neutrality".

    Under the FCC rules, Internet service providers would be able to charge tolls for data to get priority in "fast lanes".

    Such rules "would enable phone and cable Internet service providers to discriminate both technically and financially against Internet companies and to impose new tolls on them", Google, Amazon, Microsoft and other Internet firms said in a letter to the FCC.

    In Singapore, there are rules that aim to maintain net neutrality. Internet service providers and telcos cannot impose restrictions, charges or other measures which, while not outright blocking, will render legitimate online content effectively inaccessible or unusable.