Net Neutrality Comment Tsunami Builds

On the Senate Floor Thursday (May 18), Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) said he expected the FCC to have 2-3 million comments in the net neutrality (Restoring Internet Freedom) docket by week's end.

He was right.

The FCC voted Thursday (May 18) to start rolling back Title II. By Friday morning, the docket showed 2,174,196 comments, though some unknown number of those were duplicates (a thousand or so, for example, were the identical pro-Title II comment from a "Yoni Schwartz," who made it into the "top 10 filing names").

Back when Title II was imposed, the FCC received more than 4 million comments, but Title II fan and network neutrality advocate Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) has said to expect that total to be minuscule compared with this time around, and Schatz was clearly looking for the flood as well.

The comment total can go both down and up as the FCC weeds out duplicates.

It is not unusual for dockets to contain duplicate filings, form letters, and not bot-driven floods on one-side or another, but the FCC also said last week it was the subject of a DDoS attack that affected the filing of comments--activist groups are skeptical.

Asked what the FCC was doing about net neutrality comments issues and improving the site, Pai said following Thursday's meeting that FCC IT people were on it.

"Our top priority is to insure the web site remains accessible to the public and our IT professionals are hard on the case making sure that that is so," the chairman said.

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.