Give Visitors With An FCC IP Address The Slow Lane Treatment

The FCC isn’t making a lot of friends these days in large part due to its position with Net Neutrality. If you want to get back at the FCC, consider using the FCC Slow Lane plugin. The plugin allows users to protest the FCC by slowing down their websites to a crawl when an IP address registered to the FCC is detected. FCC Slow Lane is developed by WordPress.org user Evoknow. The plugin was created in response to a support forum thread requesting functionality to protest the FCC.

Slow The FCC Down
photo credit: La Chachalaca Fotografíacc

When a blocked IP address is detected, the loading time is increased by two seconds. It also displays a header on top of your site for five seconds stating that they have been slowed down due to the FCC position regarding net neutrality. By slowing down your website to IP addresses registered to the FCC, they get to see first-hand what the Internet is like in the slow lane. The IP address ranges are publicly known and are in CIDR format.

  • 192.133.125.0/24
  • 165.135.0.0/16
  • 192.104.54.0/24
  • 4.21.126.0/24
  • 65.125.25.64/26
  • 208.23.64.0/25

Although there are no options to configure, it would be nice if there was a way to increase the time it takes to load the page to give those IP addresses the extra slow treatment. When installed, you can see how the notification header will look by adding ?fcc=demo-on at the end of the URL. Alternatively, you can use ?fcc=show-fcc-ips to see which blocks of IP addresses are being targeted. It’s not pretty, but it gets the message across.

When a visitor with an FCC IP address visits the site, they'll see this header.
When a visitor with an FCC IP address visits the site, they’ll see this header.

If there is enough interest, Evoknow said he’ll create an administrative backend to add new blocks of IP addresses. This would help spread the word to other political officials. FCC Slow Lane works fine with WordPress 3.9.1 and is one of the easiest ways to protest the FCC.

WordPress Sites Used As Protesting Machines

FCC slow lane is another example of turning WordPress sites into protesting machines. In 2012, users were able to protest SOPA via the SOPA Blackout plugin. Earlier this year, thousands participated in the The Day We Fight Back campaign via a plugin.  With WordPress powering more than 22% of the web, it’s becoming easier for digital citizens to fight back. As each site participates in a protest, the volume is raised. When WordPress.com and others joined together to protest against NSA surveillance, the volume was deafening.

What would happen if only 5-10% of WordPress powered sites protested against specific causes? Would it be enough to affect change? Is it possible to change the future by using WordPress sites to protest or is it just a bunch of noise at the end of the day?

9 Comments


  1. Thanks for that info as I’ve been hoping someone would come up with something like this to slow down that FCC and see how they like being put through their own paces. Brilliant plugin!

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  2. This is a nice idea, but I think it would be a lot better if it were done in JavaScript (I assume you can check IP’s via JavaScript but am not certain), as most caching setups will simply bypass the slowing down process.

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    1. @ryan – the plugin uses both backend (php) and front end (JavaScript) for the very reason you mentioned. The php side slow down using sleep is two seconds and the JavaScript adds five seconds with a header on top of each page that disappears after the five seconds wait. Of course, there is a lot of room for optimizations. I wrote this in two hours over a weekend to get the ball rolling and I am already working on a full scale advocacy plugin. If anyone is interested, just give a way to share updates. Thanks

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  3. The nets listed in the post should include 208.31.254.128/25 (at least, maybe more, who knows?).
    Whois NET-208-31-254-128-1;.

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  4. @Ed – I will add a way to add new IP range (in CIDR format) in the next version and will include 208.31.254.128/25

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