Analysis: Majority of FCC Comments Favor Repealing Internet Rules

Free market group Consumer Action for a Strong Economy (CASE) says according to its analysis of the FCC's open internet docket, a majority (65%) favor repealing the Title II-based Open Internet order, as FCC chairman Ajit Pai has proposed to do.

But it also points out that a vast majority, 75%, of those comments are from "letter campaigns" coming from both sides of the issue.

In addition, nearly 6% of the comments have been submitted by self-identified international filers.

The group said it looked at the 4,990,000 filings as of June 20 and said it would do similar assessments in the future.

Of those, it said, 3,237,916 support repealing the order, while 35% (1,752,084) oppose repeal.

It said that assessment was based on analysis of "clear language" one way or the other—including the language encouraged by HBO's John Oliver—mostly on the form letters that make up the 75% of comments, though it said the percentage might actually be more since it was looking at varieties and permutations of the same language, and there could be more.

CASE identified 19 different form letters. There were at least 288,611 filings from foreign entities, with most against repeal, though it said that number too could be higher since those were only folks who had marked the box saying they were international.

One interesting side note. Well over a tenth of the filings (13.2% to be exact) were 140 characters or less—the length of a tweet (suggesting either that commenters were used to conveying their thoughts in that amount of space or that perhaps the comments were doing double duty as FCC input and tweets).

CASE looked at overall sentiment, number of form submissions, comment length and international filers, and said it was "simply providing one way to look at the data."

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.