Net Neutrality by the Numbers

It looks as though some network neutrality commenters are inadvertently fighting the last war, or at least commenting on it.

The third-busiest Federal Communications Commission docket in the past 30 days is “Protecting and Promoting the Open Internet” (docket number 14-28), which is actually the docket for the recently overturned 2015 rules adopted under former Democratic chair Tom Wheeler.

The docket for current Republican chair Ajit Pai’s rules rollback proceeding, dubbed “Restoring Internet Freedom,” is 17-108, and it is the busiest docket over the same period, with 863,000 comments. The docket would likely have even more activity were it not for the fact that some of the comments clearly meant for the recent rollback were filed under the old 14-28, instead, because that was the docket number to which commenters directed their filings.

Related: GOP FCC KOs Title II

Some of the 14-28 entries have both docket numbers, so show up in both dockets. Both of them are officially closed, though the FCC keeps accepting filings anyway, a case of leaving the barn door open after the horse has fled.

An FCC spokesperson confirmed that the filings with both docket numbers show up in both, and said he believed that was not the case for any of the recent filings to 14-28, which were clearly addressing the net neutrality rollback, though he had not confirmed that at press time.

Related: Net Neutrality Bill Is Longest of Long Shots

The Wire spot checked a couple of the 14-28- targeted comments clearly meant for 17-108 — “The FCC’s decision to abandon Net Neutrality is terrible,” for example — and they did not show up in the latter docket.

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.