Public Speaks Out On Net Neutrality

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The Federal Communications Commission’s official Net Neutrality inquiry ended Monday, but not before a deluge of public comments in support flooded in.

As the Parents’ Television Council has demonstrated in the past, it takes very few complaints to grab Chairman Kevin Martin’s attention, whether it be about Janet Jackson’s nipple, what people are allowed to say and do on subscription media services, or the appropriateness of cracking jokes about hamsterbating before 10 PM.

So surely, tens of thousands of public comments supporting Net Neutrality won’t be ignored right? Well, we’ll see. Martin and company haven’t liked the idea in the past. It’s easier to get them on board when it comes to decency regulation – but standing up to the telecoms takes guts.

Free Press says over 95 percent of the public comments filed "demand a free and open Internet." It’s important (and necessary) to note that activist groups there have most likely stacked the deck.

That doesn’t take away from the importance of it, and, as said before with the PTC example, if the FCC listens whole-heartedly to one tiny voice complaining about TV, surely they’ll listen to a much larger one about the future of the most powerful medium the world has ever known.

But that would require some sort of consistency, which the FCC doesn’t like to exhibit; regulation is only okay in terms of content, but not in terms of business.

At least, that seems to be the logic.

Regardless, a lot of people are speaking out from both sides of the political spectrum, and with much more resonance than their phone and cable company enemies.

"I am living the American dream because of Network Neutrality — my games have been used in thousands of schools all over the world," says Karen Chun, a single mother and owner of a successful online educational games business. "Without Net Neutrality, my little Web site would have been consigned to oblivion because I wouldn’t have been able to pay the fees the ISPs want to charge."

In the Senate, a bill sponsored by both a Republican and a Democrat illustrate that this issue stretches across political lines. In a letter to Chairman Martin, Sens. Byron Dorgan (D-ND) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), who sponsored the Internet Freedom Preservation Act, joined the chorus of supporters:

"We see that thousands of people have submitted comments describing how a free and open Internet benefits consumers and telling you the discriminatory practices planned by their Internet service providers would substantially harm their online experience. We hope you take note of these thousands of public comments urging you to protect Internet freedom."

Public Speaks Out On Net Neutrality
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