A Federal Communications Commission website designed for people to share comments on it was offline Monday due to “heavy traffic," following comedian John Oliver’s call for people to tell the FCC why it should protect Open Internet rules.
On social media, many noted that the outage seemed to highlight the very problem of Internet Service Providers demanding the right to host “Internet fast lanes” for high-traffic websites and services, part of the so-called Net neutrality debate.
@FCC Maybe because your servers are running on the "slow lane" internet? Since when do you read comments that dont include cash bribes?
â€” Mark Rodgers ツ (@KC8GRQ) June 2, 2014
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@FCC Don't worry. If you pay $8M more to Comcast you might get a better connection. They might even throw in a $4M/m server lease agreement.
â€” Richard Risner (@Kowder) June 2, 2014
The outage lasted for several hours, but the FCC has given no explanation other than “heavy traffic.” The website appeared to be running again on Tuesday, but very slowly. Pages 14-28, titled “Protecting and Promoting the Open Internet,” are particularly slow to load. The section has currently received more than 45,000 comments.
On his Sunday night “Last Week Tonight” show on HBO, Oliver ran a 13-minute segment explaining the so-called “net neutrality” concept and lampooning the FCC’s proposed rules to end it.
“The point is, the Internet in its current form is not broken, and the FCC is currently taking steps to fix that,” Oliver said. The comedian concluded the segment encouraging Internet commenters to do their worst on the FCC comment page.
There’s no way to know if the page's slowdown is directly related to Oliver’s TV show, but the timing seems like more than a coincidence.