FCC's Open Internet Comments Overhwelmingly In Favor of Net Neutrality
99% of comments were in favor of maintaing net neutrality.
An analysis of over 800,000 comments submitted so far to the FCC's Open Internet forum debating the regulation of Internet service providers reveals a heavy use of form letters and an unsurprisingly robust opposition to ending net neutrality.
The report by The Sunlight Foundation, an open government nonprofit, breaks down the comments found in the massive docket and finds that 60 percent originated from at least 20 organized campaigns. Among those sources were CREDO Action, Battle for the Net, Daily Kos and The Nation. Sunlight notes that previous high-volume dockets from the FCC have yielded a higher percentage of form letter-fueled comments, which suggests higher levels of public interest for the net neutrality debate.
According to Sunlight, two-thirds of all commenters objected to dividing Internet traffic into speed tiers. Common keywords for the this group included "slow/fast lane," "pay to play" and "Netflix." About the same amount of commenters asked the FCC to use the 1934 Communications Act to reclassify ISPs as common carriers. Using forms from The Nation, Free Press and others, those commenters repeated the terms "authority" and "(re)classify" a lot.
About half of the comments argued that Internet access should be an essential freedom of all citizens and discussed the economic impact of the end of net neutrality. Forty percent of commenters cited consumer choice, while a third advocated for competition among ISPs. About 15 percent argued to treat broadband providers like a public utility. Five percent had anti-regulation messages.
A fair amount of non-form letter commenters (about 2,500) called for the resignation of FCC officials, including chairman Tom Wheeler. Amusingly, about 1,500 comments either mentioned comedian John Oliver by name or used words from his recent net neutrality segment, including "f--kery" and "dingo."
Sunlight found that more than 500 comments were left blank and that some, like the one that consisted of Tolstoy's War and Peace, were discarded because they were too long.
Of the final count of 800,959 comments, less than 1 percent were clearly opposed to net neutrality.
You can read the Sunlight Foundation's full report here.