The FCC is trying to exploit the distracted citizenry and press during Thanksgiving holidays to push a shameless policy in one of the most complained about and least competitive industries in America. They have received a record-breaking 22 million comments chiming in on the net neutrality debate, but from the sound of it, they’re ignoring the vast majority of them.
In a call with reporters yesterday discussing its plan to end net neutrality, a senior FCC official said that 7.5 million of those comments were the exact same letter, which was submitted using 45,000 fake email addresses.
Throughout a “fact” sheet released by the FCC, it’s repeatedly claimed that the very real harms we’ve seen in the broadband sector thanks to a lack of healthy competition are entirely “speculative” and “hypothetical”:
“Because of the paucity of concrete evidence of harms to the openness of the Internet, the Title II Order and its proponents have heavily relied on purely speculative threats. We do not believe hypothetical harms, unsupported by empirical data, economic theory, or even recent anecdotes, provide a basis for public-utility regulation of ISPs.428 Indeed, economic theory demonstrates that many of the practices prohibited by the Title II Order can sometimes harm consumers and sometimes benefit consumers; therefore, it is not accurate to presume that all hypothetical effects are harmful.”
One thing of particular note in the absurdly named “Restoring Internet Freedom” order is the fact that the FCC wants to ban states that try to protect net neutrality and consumer welfare in the wake of the federal handout to industry.
Even ignoring the potential spam the commission complained about among the 22 million comments, they said it didn’t really care about the public’s opinion on net neutrality unless it was phrased in unique legal terms.
The vast majority of the 22 million comments were form letters, the official said, and unless those letters introduced new facts into the record or made serious legal arguments, they didn’t have much bearing on the decision. The commission didn’t care about comments that were only stating opinion.
Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, says President Trump’s initiative to roll back net neutrality protections for the internet “does not make sense” and that he’ll be looking into what he can do to defend net neutrality for the whole internet.
Pai further thinks it was a mistake for the FCC to try and stop Comcast from blocking BitTorrent in 2008. Meaning, if he had the final say, ISP’s would be allowed to block the BitTorrent service and who knows what else. Pai wants to go back to the legal framework that allowed Comcast to block BitTorrent, which would not only be a catastrophe for file sharing but a very very slippery slope towards any future initiatives towards peer-to-peer communication.