Tags: John Oliver | FCC | Net Neutrality

FCC Servers Slow After John Oliver Rant on Net Neutrality

By    |   Wednesday, 04 June 2014 10:11 AM

The FCC isn't admitting outright that comedian John Oliver's 13-minute rant on net neutrality Sunday has slowed down its website, but it is acknowledging "unusually heavy traffic."

On Oliver's HBO Sunday night show "Last Week Tonight," Oliver encouraged anyone who has ever commented on a YouTube video — whom he jokingly referred to as "monsters" — to visit the FCC's website for public comment and say their piece, reports The Wall Street Journal.

And as of Wednesday morning, more than 45,000 people had commented on the topic "Protecting and Promoting the Open Internet." In comparison, very few people have commented on any of the FCC's other topics on the site.

"We can’t trace anything directly back to that segment, but we have been experiencing unusually heavy traffic over the past couple of days," FCC spokeswoman Kim Hart told the Journal on Tuesday.

Story continues below video.

On Sunday, Oliver stressed that viewers should pay attention to the issue of net neutrality, even though the topic is "boring even by C-SPAN standards."

"Net neutrality is actually hugely important," said Oliver, who worked for "The Daily Show" with Jon Stewart before moving on to his own show on HBO. "Essentially it means that all data has to be treated equally, no matter who created it. It’s why the Internet is a weirdly level playing field, and startups can supplant established brands. That’s how Facebook supplanted MySpace, which supplanted Friendster, which supplanted actually having any friends."

But critics fear the powerful cable television lobby could push legislation that will allow a two-tiered system to allow companies that pay more to get faster site loading times.

The FCC has approved a plan that bans broadband providers, such as Comcast or Time Warner, from blocking or slowing down websites, but still allowing them to make deals with companies to speed up their sites.

"The Internet in its current form is not broken, and the FCC is taking steps to fix that," said Oliver.

But commenters could help with that, he said.

"Like Ralph Macchio, you’ve been honing your skills, waxing cars, and painting fences," said Oliver. "Well guess what? Now it’s time to do some [expletive] karate … We need you to get out there, and for once in your lives, focus your indiscriminate rage in a useful direction. Seize your moment, my lovely trolls. Turn on 'capslock' and fly, my pretties! Fly!"

By Monday afternoon, the FCC was tweeting about its site being slowed down:

And Oliver's account tweeted back on Tuesday:

The FCC's comment site was working Wednesday morning, but as Oliver's rant continues to go viral on YouTube, that may change. As of Wednesday morning, the video had more than 1.64 million views.

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The FCC isn't admitting outright that comedian John Oliver's 13-minute rant on net neutrality Sunday has slowed down its website, but it is acknowledging unusually heavy traffic.
John Oliver, FCC, Net Neutrality
Wednesday, 04 June 2014 10:11 AM
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