Today, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will vote to kill net neutrality under the guise of “Restoring Internet Freedom.” The FCC’s net neutrality rules that currently regulate Internet service providers (ISPs) as Title II common carriers forbids them from participating in many types of customer harming practices such as throttling or prioritizing certain types of internet traffic over others. Simply put, net neutrality protects consumers from predatory practices by large corporations, an acceptable use of government regulation that has proven useful in regulating other public utilities, such as water and electricity.
The FCC’s meeting starts at 10:30 Eastern time and can be viewed at this FCC livestream link.
Editor’s note: The “Destroying Internet Freedom” motion passed with a 2-1 vote. O’Rielly and Pai voted Aye while Clyburn voted Nay.
Support for net neutrality is at an all time high
One FCC commissioner, Mignon Clyburn, has even come out in favor of net neutrality. She stated:
“Net neutrality is doomed if we are silent.”
Senate Democrats have also voiced their support of net neutrality in an open letter released on TechCrunch. The letter started simply:
“The free and open internet as we know it is at risk.”
Additionally, several groups of startups, tech companies, and non profits such as Fight For The Future and even a late show have also made the stand, helping guide real users to the FCC’s comment page so that they can leave comments. So many comments that the FCC even claimed to be DDOS’d.
Even with the anti-net neutrality bot spam, the majority of comments to the FCC are for net neutrality
The upcoming FCC vote has garnered a lot of attention. The official comment period has seen hundreds of thousands of submissions, with evidence that a good portion of them were submitted by bots. According to data analysis by Jeffrey Fossett, even once you account for the most commonly submitted anti net neutrality comments, the majority of comments to the FCC are still for net neutrality. Just like in previous iterations where the netizens of the world assembled to make their voice heard – we are doing so again.
Even a cable company poll found that the majority support net neutrality
Another poll, conducted by anti-net neutrality lobbying group, the NCTA – The Internet & Television Association, tried its hardest with leading questions to show that Americans didn’t want Title II classification for ISPs and wanted a “light touch” of internet regulation. However, even that data showed that the majority of people supported net neutrality – a claim that some ISPs and even Ajit Pai himself have also made.
Ajit Pai has indicated that it is possible that the comments may sway the FCC’s mind on doing away with net neutrality. Even if the FCC votes to keep net neutrality today, there is still the Senate proposal, the “Restoring Internet Freedom Act,” which would also repeal net neutrality rules, to fight against. If the FCC votes to begin the process of repealing net neutrality rules today, the process would open up another 3 month comment period before a final vote at the FCC meeting on August 16th.
Featured image from fcc.gov.