3 Million Comments And Counting: The Final Public Comment Period On Net Neutrality Ends Tonight

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2014.05.15-FCC-protestThe chance for the public — individuals, consumer advocates, and businesses alike — to have their say on the FCC’s proposed net neutrality rule is finally coming to an end. In the four months of the various comment periods being open, the FCC has received over 3 million comments so far, with more pouring in by the minute. But the finish line is near: the deadline on the reply period ends, for real, at midnight tonight.

In the first round of comments, ISPs cheered for fast lanes, because they stand to make money from businesses and consumers alike. Consumer advocacy groups, meanwhile, called for the FCC to enact actual non-discrimination rules without giant loophole exceptions available to the highest bidders.

Well over 1 million comments were submitted, of which a scant 4300 dropped the f-bomb. That’s not too bad, considering comedian John Oliver’s monologue inspired such a large audience to go comment that the FCC’s comment system became completely overwhelmed and keeled over dead.

The comments from the first round overwhelmingly were in favor of true net neutrality regulation, and against the idea of fast lanes.

In the second round, internet businesses and advocacy groups fought hard with a protest, calling for consumers to ask the FCC to regulate broadband under Title II as a common carrier. Over half of the 3 million comments the FCC has received have come in since the day of protest on September 10.

Of course, giant companies also get their second say. AT&T is suggesting that users should be able to designate their own preferred “fast lane” content on request. Comcast, meanwhile, is continuing to explain (PDF) why they think everyone else is totally jumping the gun to call for Title II classification which, from Comcast’s point of view, will break everything forever.

We are now into “speak now or forever hold your peace” territory. If you want to tell the FCC your thoughts, this is the time.

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