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Coronavirus Cited in Request for Net Neutrality Comment Extension

A group of interested stakeholders has cited the coronavirus in asking the FCC to extend the comment deadline on a court's remand of portions of its Restoring Internet Freedom order. 

The FCC had set a March 30 deadline for comments and an April 29 deadline for reply comments for comments on the D.C. federal appeals court's direction to the FCC to better explain the impact of its elimination of rules against blocking, throttling and paid prioritization and reclassification of ISP as Title I information services on public safety, the regulation of pole attachments, and its Lifeline broadband/phone subsidy program. 

In a motion for extension of time, the groups said that "the staff, officials and line level first responders who possess the knowledge necessary to respond to these questions are preoccupied with preparing for, and conducting, emergency responses to a public safety crisis of unprecedented magnitude brought on by the rapid spread of COVID-19." 

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They also pointed out that since the court did not vacate the pole-attachment rules and Lifeline program, there is less urgency to get comments in, and cited the complexity and importance of the issues, the latter indicated by the number of comments in the FCC docket--currently the busiest docket at the commission. 

Filing the motion were The Benton Institute for Broadband & Society, California Public Utilities Commission, County of Santa Clara, City of Los Angeles, Access Now, Center for Democracy and Technology, Common Cause, Electronic Frontier Foundation, INCOMPAS, National Hispanic Media Coalition, Next Century Cities, Open Technology Institute and Public Knowledge.

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.