3.7 Million Comments Later, Here’s Where Net Neutrality Stands
The window for the public to weigh in on how federal rule-makers should treat Internet traffic is closed, after a record 3.7 million comments arrived at the FCC. The Sunlight Foundation analyzed the first 800,000 and found that fewer than 1 percent were opposed to net neutrality enforcement.
The principle of net neutrality generally means that all Internet traffic is treated equally.
But whether the weight of popular opinion can overcome the significant lobbying heft of Internet service providers fighting against stronger net neutrality rules is a huge question mark. An analysis by San Francisco-based data firm Quid found that Verizon alone spent $100 million to lobby Congress on net neutrality since 2009. (That kind of money could buy you 793 houses or 4 million bottles of Maker’s Mark.)
What’s On The Table
The proposal before the five-member Federal Communications Commission, led by Chairman Tom Wheeler, would allow broadband providers such as Time Warner and Verizon to engage in “commercially reasonable” traffic management. That means they could potentially charge content companies (like Netflix) to get their content to you faster — paid prioritization, or “fast lanes.”