WASHINGTON, D.C. – The initial comment period for Americans to tell the Federal Communications Commission what they thought of its proposed “Restoring Internet Freedom” initiative closed July 21.
At last count, about 10.6 million people and organizations weighed in – 2 million of them alone July 12, the date of a coordinated effort by groups to preserve the current internet rules.
The FCC is now in a “reply” period that runs through Aug. 16. It’s doubtful the four-week reply period will generate similar numbers, but advocates on one side or the other can take the opportunity to rebut comments they regard as either self-serving or skirting the truth.
Not that anybody is making 10.6 million tally marks, but the safe bet is that the vast majority of those who have sent comments to the FCC want to keep the present rules.
Among those is the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. “Without the current strong open internet regulations, including prohibitions on paid prioritization, the public has no effective recourse against internet service providers’ interference with accessibility to content,” said USCCB assistant general counsel Katherine Grincewich in comments delivered July 21 to the FCC.
To keep things straight, “open internet” is synonymous with net neutrality, and “paid prioritization” is another way of saying “fast lane” for the internet. Foes of paid prioritization say it follows that if someone pays for a fast lane, then all who don’t pay are relegated to a slow lane – or worse.
For two days during the week before the end of the comment period, news reports surfaced that Verizon Wireless – Verizon is one of the United States’ largest internet service providers – was intentionally slowing down video streaming services on its customers’ data plans. Open-internet advocates call that throttling. Verizon’s definition: optimization, adding it was just a network test that should not have disrupted their customers’ internet experience.
Read more at Crux.