FCC gets record number of Net Neutrality comments
Nearly 22 million are logged, but will it matter in long run?
Nearly 22 million comments were logged by the Federal Communications Commission weighing in on the issue of Net Neutrality — but it probably won’t make a difference.
Wednesday was the final day consumers could voice their opinion to the agency on the changes to Net Neutrality rules, which the current chairman has said he wanted to nix.
The rules were put into effect during the Obama administration in 2015 to prevent Internet providers from adjusting the speeds of big-time users — of throttling sites such as Netflix and Hulu. But under the Trump presidency, the current FCC chairman seeks to abolish the rules, in an era of deregulation.
For the past months, consumers have been urged to speak out to the agency — egged on by folks such as HBO’s John Oliver, who made it a personal crusade.
Researcher Emprata studied
“We will continue to not block, throttle or discriminate against lawful content, no matter what the FCC does.”
Internet giant Comcast, in a statement
the comments on behalf of the industry and said 60% were against repeal and that most of the letters were form-generated — as in computer generated bots. It added that more than 7 million of the comments came from temporary (fake) email addresses.
In response, Evan Greer, the campaign director for Fight for the Future, which has been campaigning to keep the current rules, said the Emprata study proved her point. “They are getting trounced when it comes to public opinion, and people from across the political spectrum overwhelmingly agree that they don’t want their ISPs to have control over what they can see and do on the Internet.”
The net result of all those comments, Greer suggests, shows that people care deeply about the Internet, “and don’t want companies like Comcast, Verizon and AT&T to control what we can see and do online. The public record matters, regardless of what the FCC decides to do, as the agency will have to defend its decisions in court.”
That’s where the issue is expected to go next, as well as Con- gress, which has a hearing set for next week on the issue.
Meanwhile, despite the heated rhetoric, Internet providers say they don’t want to be regulated — and insist they won’t throttle your Internet.
“We will continue to not block, throttle or discriminate against lawful content, no matter what the FCC does,” Internet giant Comcast said in a statement.
Current FCC chairman Ajit Pai is a Republican who voted against the rules as a commissioner and was named chairman by Trump earlier this year. He has said the regulations are heavy-handed, have reduced investment in network expansion and slowed consumer access to faster broadband connections.