July 15 Is the Deadline for Comments to FCC on Net Neutrality

by on July 15, 2014 · 8 comments

in Civil Rights, Culture, Media, Organizing, Politics, World News

FCC tweet

Breaking news: Because of an overwhelming response from progressives fighting to protect an open and free Internet, the FCC just extended the deadline for public comments until this Friday, July 18.

By John Loughlin

The deadline for the first round of comments to the FCC on the subject of Net Neutrality is today – Tuesday, July 15.

According to John Oliver, the only two words that promise more boredom in the English language are “featuring Sting.” He went on to explain that Net Neutrality is “actually hugely important.“

To paraphrase Colombia Law Professor Tim Wu:

Imagine an electrical network that wasn’t neutral. You’d buy a new toaster, you’d come home, plug it in and discover that because the grid owner had made a deal with the other toaster manufacturers, your new toaster wouldn’t work.

If you believe in a land of opportunity, then you believe in the open internet. Most Democrats believe that broadband networks should be treated as a utility, a common carrier, and the FCC should simply reclassify them as such.

Some argue that reclassification introduces an unnecessary burden of regulation on the carriers, and that we’d be better off without it, but as Cory Doctorow outlines in the video “If you’re going to take a public subsidy, you can’t draw the line at delivering public benefit.”

If politicians think we trust the present Congress to draft new, meaningful, lightweight regulation in place of reclassification then I have a (network) bridge to sell them.

Regular voters of every political persuasion know the carriers’ arguments stink. We all know the answer to the question Lawrence Lessig asks, “If Verizon had controlled the Internet, would Skype have been allowed?”

Just send an email with your comments to: openinternet@fcc.gov

John Loughlin is the Chair of the Communications Committee, Point Loma Democratic Club and a card-carrying member of the ACLU.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

John Loughlin July 15, 2014 at 12:45 pm

Bill Moyers also has a good backgrounder on this issue updated today at:
His description of Chairman Tom Wheeler’s background explains why sending comments is imperative. He too encourages everyone to email openinternet@fcc.gov or tweet @TomWheelerFCC


john July 15, 2014 at 2:36 pm

Sam Altman has a pretty good grasp of what is needed re: net neutrality.

Really good comments under his post which sums up a lot of what is going on (recommended reading).

The choice pull-quote (hopefully its not a problem to publish here):

This is not the case for the “last mile”. Consumers often can only buy Internet access from a single provider; there is no choice. These providers would like to be able to make some traffic more equal than others and accept payment for it. [1] This isn’t allowed for voice, and it shouldn’t be allowed for data.

Municipalities, often for good reason, gave these edge providers a monopoly (the bad kind of monopoly where consumers can’t choose to leave) and often used tax dollars to fund the development. At this point, the Internet is a public service and fair access should be a basic right.

I would love to see a world where the companies that own last-mile infrastructure are required to lease the lines to any ISP the end consumer wants; this would create a competitive market and mostly eliminate the problem. [2]


john July 15, 2014 at 2:42 pm

ok the comments are actually on the hackernews site:


John Loughlin July 15, 2014 at 3:49 pm

Hi John, Thank you for the link. You’re right. It is shame when municipalities are ‘bullied’ into granting monopolies to the carriers as it stifles the very competition the same carriers then argue is the best way to regulate their service(!) As the video clearly shows the large voice carriers were enabled to build their extensive businesses, and must be required to deliver public benefit. Regulating as a utility is the best option we presently have. If the FCC and the congress could be trusted to act on the will of the people, this would be a no brainer.


John Loughlin July 16, 2014 at 5:23 am

The deadline for the first round of comments to the FCC on the subject of Net Neutrality has been extended to Friday, July 18. Keep them coming!


Rhoda July 16, 2014 at 7:39 am

This is a great video on an critical subject. The internet has become the “fabric of life” to most all of us. Reclassifying internet service providers as “common carriers” means they would be considered public providers, providing a utility that the public needs.
A public provider cannot, by law, discriminate or refuse the service to anyone. That would eliminate the possibility of paid prioritization (ie fast lanes) of internet services.
The reclassification proposal is the Dems proposal and it is exactly what we must do to protect fair information flow on the internet!

Reclassifying the internet as “common carrier”
Wikipedia distinguishes a “common carrier” from a “contract carrier which is a carrier that transports goods for only a certain number of clients and that can refuse to transport goods for anyone else, and from a private carrier. A common carrier holds itself out to provide service to the general public


Robert Stavros July 16, 2014 at 9:19 am

Obviously the FCC/Wheeler proposal is fraught with issues. The earliest signs are the law suites between Netflix and Comcast. FCC/Wheeler and Republican (other than Scott Peters) position is basically, “he who has the most and the best lawyers win.” Its so simple, so very simple. So yes, there won’t be any “new FCC bureaucracy” to oversee the very simple rule that everything needs to be treated equally, but the court system and lawyers will sure get a work out. As for the FCC bureaucracy, there wasn’t any before the court ruling, why would there be any if net-neutrality is re-established.

This is nothing more than an extortion plot done by east coast and Texas based corporations to take a share businesses they are incompetent to do themselves. Has anyone ever bought movies or music from Verizon? If you have, do you buy a lot of them? How about “On Demand”? Probably not. Hulu, iTunes, Amazon, Netflix do a better job.

As for providing money for these companies to innovate, why is Time-Warner and Direct TV such big prizes to Comcast and Rupert Murdock? If they can’t use the money they have to innovate, let them get out of the way and let Silicon Valley and the West Coast show them how its done. Google Fiber anyone?

As for local issues, how important are the cable providers (east coast and Texas based) to our local economy? How important is the Tech industry? Its pretty obvious that Scott Peters needs to stop endorsing the FCC/Wheeler “solution”.


nostalgic July 16, 2014 at 12:45 pm

If something works just fine, the government changes it. Will the Internet go the way of the Post Office? Amazon can mail a package for small change; the same thing costs me more than the item costs. I suppose that is the model.


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