FCC explains why public support for net neutrality won’t stop repeal

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Net neutrality rules are popular with Americans who use the Internet. It was thus no surprise to see a huge backlash to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai's plan to eliminate the rules. While most of the 22 million public comments on the plan were spam and form letters, a study funded by the broadband industry found that 98.5 percent of unique comments supported the current rules. Net neutrality supporters organized an "Internet-wide Day of Action to Save Net Neutrality" in July and plan more protests in the coming days as a final vote draws near. But net neutrality rules have some vocal and influential opponents. The most prominent are Republican politicians and regulators, conservative think tanks, and the Internet service providers that have to follow the rules. Those are the voices that counted most in Pai's decision to eliminate popular consumer protection regulations. A senior FCC official spoke with reporters about Pai's anti-net neutrality plan  and explained why the FCC is not swayed by public opinion on net neutrality. The vast majority of comments consisted of form letters from both pro- and anti-net neutrality groups and generally did not introduce new facts into the record or make serious legal arguments, the official from Pai's office said. In general, the comments stated opinions or made assertions and did not have much bearing on Pai's decision. The official noted that many of the comments are fraudulent. He said that there were 7.5 million identical comments that came from 45,000 unique names and addresses, apparently due to a scammer who repeatedly submitted the same comment under a series of different names. The message from this FCC official seemed to be that a huge percentage of the comments can be safely ignored. 


FCC explains why public support for net neutrality won’t stop repeal