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FCC Extends Deadline for Comments Regarding Net Neutrality Decision

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The US Federal Communications Commission announced Tuesday that it will extend the deadline for comments on the historical net neutrality decision. The new deadline is July 18, 2014.

The amount of traffic the FCC was receiving overwhelmed its comment system.

“The deadline for filing submissions as part of the first round of public comments in the FCC’s Open Internet proceeding arrived today. Not surprisingly, we have seen an overwhelming surge in traffic on our website that is making it difficult for many people to file comments through our Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS),” Kim Hart, FCC press secretary said. “Please be assured that the Commission is aware of these issues and is committed to making sure that everyone trying to submit comments will have their views entered into the record. Accordingly, we are extending the comment deadline until midnight Friday, July 18. You also have the option of emailing your comments to openinternet@fcc.gov, and your views will be placed in the public record.”

According to Reuters, the FCC has received over 680,000 comments on the proposed net neutrality rules. Some of the comments came Monday from the Internet Association,  non-profit organization made up of US Internet companies including Netflix, Rackspace and Google. The group filed comment with the FCC asking for penalties for service providers that abuse interconnection deals. According to the FCC blog, it has received comments from a variety of constituents.

In May the FCC voted in favor of the proposed net neutrality regulations. The purpose of the proposed rules are to protect consumers from harms identified in the 2010 Open Internet Order. In January, a DC federal appeals court struck down the 2010 Federal Communication Commission’s net neutrality rules. The rules prevented Internet service providers from blocking or prioritizing Internet traffic. There are now no legally enforceable rules to protect and promote an open Internet.

FCC chairman Tom Wheeler proposed rules that would allow deals between content providers and ISPs to prioritize traffic. Some see this resulting in a form of censorship where those that can afford to create these partnerships will effectively create an internet fast and slow lane, eventually blocking the free flow of information. Wheeler is attempting to use the law in a way it wasn’t originally intended.

At the FCC meeting in May, commissioner Michael O’Rielly expressed in a dissent that Congress never intended section 706 to be taken as FCC authority to regulate the Internet. “…the notice doesn’t stop there, it takes comment on ways to construe additional language in section 706 and even suggests using section 230b to broaden the scope of the commissions usurped authority. This is absurd.”

“Now the commission is trying to cast an even wider net of authority I fear that other services and providers could become ensnared in the future,” O’Rielly said. “And just in case section 706 proves to be inadequate for this regulatory boondoggle the notice explores upending years of precedent and investment by reclassifying broadband internet access as a Title 2 service…applying monopoly era rules to modern broadband services solely to impose unnecessary and defective net neutrality regulations.”

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About the Author

Cheryl Kemp is the Director, Community and Conference Content for Penton Technology. She leads the efforts for conference content including speaker recruitment, advisory boards and programming for Penton Technology channel events as well as channel elearning. She attended the University of Cincinnati and holds a degree in Psychology. You can find her on twitter and google+.

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