Visitors to popular United States websites may encounter "loading..." symbols next week as companies band together to protest against having to pay cable networks to avoid having their traffic deprioritised and slowed down.
The Battle for the Net campaign is scheduled to take place on September 10 US time (September 11 in Australia). It seeks to create awareness of new "net neutrality" rules by the US regulator the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that would permit network operators to charge sites for faster and more reliable content delivery.
Organised by internet activist group Fight for the Future, Battle for the Net enjoys the support of some of the largest web sites in the world which will take part in the September 10 campaign, it said.
These include blogging platform Wordpress, video uploading service Vimeo, image storage site IMGUR, the popular Reddit forum, maker marketplace Etsy, location check-in provider Foursquare and many others.
While the FCC proposal bans blocking and outright traffic deprioritisation, operators of the sites fear that giant cable companies such as Comcast, Verizon, Time Warner and AT&T will hold their millions of customers ransom, and demand additional payments to ensure that content reaches users quickly.
The sites intend to display prominent messages in support of net neutrality and also, animated "Loading..." symbols. These widgets do not in actual fact slow down sites, Battle for the Net said.