Net Neutrality Comments To FCC Slow As First Comment Period Ends

Net neutrality has still piqued many people’s interest. Just ask the Federal Communications Commission.

The allotted time for citizens to send an electronic message to the FCC about net neutrality has passed, and it ended with nary a whimper. However, its huge start guaranteed the messages totaled over 1 million comments made. From legal briefs to comedy lines, many people wanted to make their voices heard. Even with the slowdown in comments, the FCC website still couldn’t handle the volume, and crashed during the day, reported Forbes.

Net neutrality is, in a nutshell, the belief that all data on the internet should be treated openly and equally without exception. Proponents of net neutrality feel an open internet is the only way to guarantee freedom of speech on the internet. Opponents feel net neutrality could lead to discriminatory removal of content, or a closed internet, perhaps by a third party. Whichever side you fall on, the comments explosion on the FCC webpage points out the fact that this issue is far from resolved.

The Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) comment period regarding its notice of proposed rule-making (NPRM) on net neutrality regulations will begin a second time later this year, according to Tech Crunch.

Public interest has been high on the issue for some time. The FCC’s NPRM contains rules that would, if enacted, allow for “paid prioritization,” referred to as internet “fast lanes.” A closed internet by net neutrality standards would restrict who can utilize it by price. Content from companies that could pay might be able — provided the FCC’s rules pass as they are — to pay for faster access to consumers, something that strict net neutrality advocates find to be reason enough to fight and debate these issues.

The Federal Communications Commission is set to make a decision regarding net neutrality in late 2014 or early 2015. Whatever the decision will be, rest assured legal action will soon follow by the side that didn’t get their way. One of the co-creators of the net neutrality theory, Tim Wu, a Columbia Law School advisor, pointed out the plethora of public comments extends far beyond the F.C.C.’s regulatory authority or the lobbying of major corporations.

“This is about a fear of closing of the technological frontier,” Mr. Wu said, “of the fear of the Internet becoming too corporatized — no longer this place where even if you start small, you do have a fighting chance.”