More than 99% of FCC commenters support Net Neutrality

Nicko from the Sunlight Foundation writes, "The Sunlight Foundation recently analyzed the more than 800,000 comments to the Federal Communications Commission about its net neutrality proposal; here are some of the key findings: We estimate that less than 1 percent of comments were clearly opposed to net neutrality."

* At least 60 percent of comments submitted were form letters written by organized campaigns (484,692 comments); while these make up the majority of comments, this is actually a lower percentage than is common for high-volume regulatory dockets.

* Around two-thirds of commenters objected to the idea of paid priority for Internet traffic, or division of Internet traffic into separate speed tiers. This topic was discussed in many independent comments, as well as form letter campaigns organized by the Nation, Battle for the Net, CREDO Action, Daily Kos and Free Press. Common keywords in this group included "slow/fast lane," "pay to play," "wealthy," "divide" and "Netflix."

* About the same number of comments, including submissions from form letter campaigns organized by the Nation, Badass Digest, CREDO Action, Daily Kos and Free Press, asked the FCC to reclassify ISPs as common carriers under the 1934 Communications Act. Common keywords in these comments included "common carrier," "(re)classify," "authority" and "Title II" (a part of the act that might grant the FCC this authority). A smaller portion of commenters advocated a regulatory strategy with a similar effect but a different legal basis, relying on section 706 of the 1996 Telecommunications Act.

* About one-third of comments, including those in Battle for the Net’s campaign, discussed the importance of competition among ISPs. Frequent terms included "monopoly" and "competition," "Comcast," "Verizon" and "Warner."

* A small number of comments (around 5 percent, including letters from Stop Net Neutrality and a Tea Partier blog) had anti-regulation messages. Interestingly, some of these comments seemed to emphasize freedom for consumers while others advocated freedom for ISPs, two positions seemingly at odds with one another.

What can we learn from 800,000 public comments on the FCC's net neutrality plan? [Bob Lannon and Andrew Pendleton/Sunlight Foundation]

(Thanks, Nicko!)

Notable Replies

  1. Do you have any evidence to support your seemingly misleading and incorrect headline claim that more than 99% of commenters support net neutrality? The text you quote states only that fewer than 1% clearly oppose it, which is by no means the same thing -- there are almost certainly a significant number who do not have a clear position one way or the other. Perhaps you should change the headline to "Fewer than 1% of FCC commenters oppose net neutrality".

  2. jgs says:

    The headline also is inconsistent with this from the body:

    A small number of comments (around 5 percent, including letters from Stop Net Neutrality and a Tea Partier blog) had anti-regulation messages

    I assume those five percent would have to be classified as opposed to Net Neutrality, or at least not supporting.

  3. Completely irrelevant. What do they think this is - a democracy? The real question is what percent of comments with checks attached. I'll bet the results are very different when you unskew the polls.

  4. Thankfully since 1% control all the money they won't be oppressed the tyranny of the majority.

  5. d_r says:

    How many had the word "dingo" in them?

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