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INCOMPAS: Net Neutrality is Even More Crucial During Pandemic

INCOMPAS, which challenged the FCC's deregulatory Restoring Internet Freedom order, told the FCC that net neutrality plays a critical role in "connecting Americans to essential internet services and information," particularly in times of crisis like the current pandemic. 

Related: FCC Extends Net Neutrality Comment Deadline

That came in comments on the court remand of a handful of elements in the FCC's Restoring Internet Freedom order, specifically asking the FCC to better explain the impact of deregulation, and the FCC's reclassification of internet access as an information service free of common carrier regs, on public safety, the Lifeline low income broadband subsidy, and access to poles and conduits. 

Related: Bennett Says Deregulation Hasn't Hurt Emergency Communications

INCOMPAS said that 1) unless a broadband provider is also offering a telecom service, it does not have the mandatory access to poles and conduits; that 2) ISPs are now free to block or slow OTT services, including ones providing critical information, "From police, health and firefighters who rely on apps, to consumers who use social media in times of crisis," and that 3) the Lifeline program is now on "uncertain grounds," particularly when the FCC won't use its mandate to ensure advanced communications are being deployed to all Americans in a reasonable and timely fashion to make sure all Americans are connected to broadband. 

INCOMPAS said the FCC should reconsider its deregulatory decision.