At press time Aug. 31, there were 21,873,926 comments in the FCC's network neutrality docket. The official comment period closed midnight Aug. 30, though the FCC could still be adding comments that had come in before that, and it will continue to accept them even afterwards per custom.
They were commenting on FCC Chairman Ajit Pai's proposal to roll back Title II classification of internet access and reconsider the 2015 Open Internet order rules against blocking, throttling and paid prioritization.
That almost 22 million is a record number of comments on any proceeding, though many of those comments were duplicates, created by email generators, or from overseas addresses, according to an analysis submitted to the FCC this week.
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Those comments included a wide range of unfiltered input, with the docket packed with four-letter words and invective the FCC would never allow on air, but does in its comment system in the interests of letting all weeds, as well as flowers, bloom. Pai had signaled that the FCC was going to err on the side of inclusiveness in the docket.
With the next FCC public meeting set for Sept. 28, and the FCC customarily noticing the tentative agenda for monthly meetings 21 days beforehand, Sept. 7 could be the next milepost day for net neutrality watchers if the chairman wants to schedule a vote on his proposal and that is enough time to have mulled all those comments.
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.
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