That thing where an ISP — like your wireless or cable company — can exempt certain services from counting against your data cap is called zero-rating, and it exists in a weird regulatory space. There are no rules against it, but there are also no rules explicitly permitting it. The businesses that do it, of course, say it is “innovative” and “competitive.” The FCC hasn’t openly decided whether or not it agrees. So a whole huge group of consumer advocates, business advocates, and businesses have gotten together to ask the FCC officially, and publicly, make up its mind.
Comcast had some harsh words this week for critics of their plan to acquire Time Warner Cable. They accused advocacy groups and businesses that have legitimate concerns about the massive transaction of crying wolf with “unfounded,” “unsupported,” and “extortionate” claims. However, Comcast’s attempt to discredit its critics into silence appears to be having the opposite effect, as both corporations and nonprofit groups are firing back loudly.
The FCC originally planned to stop taking comments about their net neutrality proposal on Tuesday. But after demand overwhelmed and crashed their antique IT system, they extended the deadline to 11:59 p.m. (EDT) tonight. As of yesterday, well over one million comments had been entered, and that number’s still going up. Clearly, the public cares — but what is the public saying?