FCC receives 3+ million comments on #netNeutality, takes another look at mobile

The FCC received 1,776,471 emails and 1,297,691 electronic comments on its network neutrality proposal from late April to September 15. On Wednesday, the agency released daily and weekly data totaling 3,074,162 comments.

FCC Net Neutrality Comments
FCC net neutrality comments submitted via email; weekly data.
FCC Network Neutrality
FCC net neutrality comments submitted via electronic system ; daily data.

The comment period officially opened on May 15, but the email account was established April 24. This explains the different start dates on the two charts.

The first bump in daily online comments chart followed John Oliver’s June 1 show; the show itself became “news.” From May 14 – May 31 (18 days) there were 28,055 electronic comments. From June 1 – June 7 (7 days) there were 85,135. That’s a big bump.


In case you need a reminder – what we are talking about is PROHIBITING DISCRIMINATION. Here’s John Oliver:

Usually we think of regulation as proposing restrictions: in this case, however, regulation requires openness.

Even Adam Smith, who the right uses in their free market rhetoric, abhorred monopolies and would endorse keeping the Internet open and neutral.

Americans have traditionally believed that the “invisible hand of the market” means that capitalism will benefit us all without requiring any oversight. However, as the New York Times notes, the real Adam Smith did not believe in a magically benevolent market which operates for the benefit of all without any checks and balances. (WaPo, 2010)

“Checks and balances” is another way to say “regulation” when there ain’t enough competition to do the job.

Another look at mobile

Perhaps due to the overwhelming public response to the issue, yesterday the FCC began revisiting mobile data and its exemption from network neutrality. The NY Times elaborates:

Removing the wireless exemption from some net neutrality rules would be a change in the commission’s stance since May, when the regulator laid out a set of proposed rules called “Protecting and Promoting the Open Internet.” In that draft, the newly proposed rules would subject wired Internet service providers to “commercially reasonable practices” of network management.

Wireless companies — who also, by the way, provide broadband to your home via wires and fibre — object.

More from the NY Times:

In July 2012, Verizon Wireless agreed to pay $1.25 million to settle an F.C.C. investigation into whether it was blocking its customers from connecting to an application that allows consumers to use a wireless phone as a modem to connect another device to the Internet, a practice known as tethering.


In August 2012, AT&T said it would not allow customers with unlimited data plans to use Apple’s FaceTime application on its cellular data network. After several public interest groups threatened to file a complaint with the F.C.C. that the company was violating the open-Internet policy, AT&T announced a new policy to support FaceTime use.

Verizon, surprising no one, issued a statement opposing extending net neutrality rules to mobile. As usual, the frame is “how heavily broadband should be regulated.”

And the telcos have contacted their Senators.

Net neutrality would amount to the FCC taking “control” of the Internet, said Senator Orrin Hatch, a Utah Republican. “Without government regulation the Internet is growing,” he said. “So what’s the problem? What is broken? What is it that needs to be fixed?”

Great rhetoric, never mind that it’s a bunch of hot air (“liar, liar, pants on fire” kinda hot air).

It’s a good think Hatch wasn’t around when telephone service and electricity had yet to make their way to rural America.

I’m certain he would have opposed the federal loans that made cooperative ventures possible. That’s right, the big corporations didn’t want to run those wires because they could make more money in high-density urban areas.

You know.

Like Verizon abandoning the West and focusing on the Northeast corridor.

By Kathy E. Gill

Digital evangelist, speaker, writer, educator. Transplanted Southerner; teach newbies to ride motorcycles! @kegill

3 replies on “FCC receives 3+ million comments on #netNeutality, takes another look at mobile”

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.