Do you think we should have an open Internet? Tell it to the Federal Communications Commission. Add your feedback to the FCC’s Electronic Filing System. Make sure to enter “17-108 (Restoring Internet Freedom)” in the Proceeding(s) box.
In the latest net neutrality news, following legal action against the Commission by Mozilla, the general public has been invited to comment on the negative effects of repealing net neutrality.
In case you need a primer, in June 2018, net neutrality — a law that basically allowed for all Internet data to be treated equally by Internet service providers — was repealed. With this law in place, the FCC had the authority to regulate ISPs to ensure that they didn’t engage in shady practices, such as blocking or slowing down certain kinds of content based on third-party interests (for example, slowing down your Netflix connection so you’ll continue your cable subscription). Net neutrality protected consumers and is considered by many to be essential for technological innovation. With net neutrality gone, ISPs have free reign.
Although the court ruling mostly found in favor of the FCC, it had some misgivings about the effects of the repeal in three key areas:
- Public safety
- Regulations of broadband infrastructure
- Lifeline — an FCC program that helps make communications services more affordable for low-income families
In response to the court, the FCC has invited the public to comment on the FCC’s net neutrality stance and its impact on the areas outlined above, in what many consider to be a cryptically written and confusingly titled press release. The document doesn’t even mention net neutrality by name, but obtusely refers to the “D.C. CIRCUIT’S MOZILLA DECISION”.
Meanwhile, FCC commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel released her own, far more straightforward press release, urging the public to “raise their voices”. The commissioner states that “The FCC got it wrong when it repealed net neutrality. The decision put the agency on the wrong side of history, the American public, and the law”.
While the overall negative impact of net neutrality repeal remains to be determined, we’ve already seen it impact public safety. Santa Clara County Fire Chief Anthony Bowden claims that the fire department’s ISP throttled their data plan to such an extent it rendered their service useless, and slowed down their response to the Mendocino wildfires in 2018.
How to comment on net neutrality
If you want to comment on the impact of repealing net neutrality, add your feedback to the FCC’s Electronic Filing System. Enter your contact information and “17-108 (Restoring Internet Freedom)” in the Proceeding(s) box.
If you think the repeal of net neutrality is wrong, now is the time to make your voice heard. Considering how historically the FCC public comments systems on net neutrality haven’t always been authentic, it’s more important than ever to ensure that legitimate concerns are voiced.
The deadline for sharing comments with the FCC is March 30th, 2020.