When the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) invited public comments on their proposed rollback of the Obama-era Net Neutrality rules, they knew that they would be hearing from a lot of you.
However, they probably didn’t anticipate that they’d be hearing from 22 million of you.
The FCC period for comments on “Restoring Internet Freedom”, their proposed changes, ended on August 30th, but before it did, the public flooded the agency with their thoughts on the changes.
And if the widespread support for the “Battle for the Net” day of action is anything to go by, a lot of those comments will be in support of maintaining Net Neutrality.
Earlier this year the FCC voted to start unwinding the 2015 rules that banned internet service providers (ISPs) from creating a two-lane system for the internet; one fast lane and one slower lane. Companies paying to be in the fast lane would have their content more quickly seen and more readily accessed, and users would lose the freedom of access that the web currently provides.
While a number of large internet companies and a huge percentage of the public oppose this repeal, companies like Verizon and Comcast would benefit from the change and so support the repeal. It seems that in their attempt to sway the conversation, companies like these may have employed bots in order to spam the FCC with often identical comments in support of the change.
Whether or not this is the case, the huge response to this issue has shown that the public’s voice will not be silenced.
Now that the period of comment is over, we simply have to sit back and wait. Will the FCC give in to huge public demand and maintain the freedom of access that we currently have, or will they allow for a two-tier system that diminshes how the internet is used?
We can only wait and see.