FCC extends deadline for net neutrality comments after site problems

If you want a say in the future of the Internet, you have a few more days to make yourself heard.

The Federal Communications Commission on Tuesday announced that it was pushing back the deadline for citizens to comment on its net neutrality proposal until Friday. The agency extended the deadline after its public commentary site became virtually unreachable thanks to all the people wanting to have their say on the proposal.

“We have seen an overwhelming surge in traffic on our website that is making it difficult for many people to file comments,” the FCC said in a statement.  “The commission … is committed to making sure that everyone trying to submit comments will have their views entered into the record.”

The agency noted that citizens can also submit comments on the proposal by emailing the agency at openinternet@fcc.gov.

The net neutrality proposal, which the FCC unveiled in May, has drawn scathing criticism from consumer interest groups. Also known as “Open Internet” rules, the proposal would for the first time give Internet service providers the FCC’s approval to the create of so-called fast lanes on the Internet. Those services would allow Internet content companies such as Netflix to pay ISPs such as Comcast to get speedier bandwidth to consumers’ houses.

Consumer groups and many tech companies worry that such services would create a two-tiered Internet that would thwart innovation by favoring big, incumbent companies who can afford to pay for the faster connections. Many of those groups have pressed for the FCC to abandon the fast lane proposal and instead reclassify the Internet as a “common carrier,” a class of communication service that is subject to greater regulatory scrutiny and is required to treat all customers equally.

Conversely, some anti-regulatory groups and telecommunications lobbying organizations have argued that even the net neutrality rules that include a fast lane are unnecessary and that reclassification would be a big misstep that would inhibit investment in faster broadband networks.

 

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