Telecom Lobby Tries to Discredit Pro-Net Neutrality Comments

August 31, 2017 - 3 minutes read

Back in May, we enlisted readers to head over to and give the FCC a piece of their minds over Chairman Ajit Pai’s plans to roll back net neutrality protections. It is a cause we believe in; it is integral that we preserve a fair and open internet. This is a stance shared by just about everyone in the app development community and the broader tech world. Perhaps app developers remember the Day of Action in July, when 70,000 tech companies, nonprofits, cities, and passionate individuals spoke out in support of net neutrality. On that day, big names like Google, Amazon, and Netflix joined thousands of smaller startups in standing up for the open internet. It was an inspiring moment of solidarity when the tech world really stood up for its principles and values.

As of last week, the window for commenting on Chairman Pai’s plan to get rid of net neutrality regulations has ended. It should be no surprise that a healthy majority of the comments were in favor of keeping net neutrality intact (hope you got your two cents in, app developers). According to a study paid for by Broadband for America (as the name suggests, it is a lobbying outfit for the telecom companies), an impressive 21 million comments flooded into the FCC website since May. Of those 21 million comments, 13 million voiced support for net neutrality. However, there is some controversy about this number: the study claims that only 1.7 million of those comments were unique. The vast majority of the comments were form letters. There were also a significant number of duplicates and comments associated with disposable email addresses or incomplete physical addresses.

These stats may not sound all that damning, but the telecom companies are going to latch onto these numbers to delegitimize the outrage around Chairman Pai’s plan. But what’s wrong with form letters? Las Vegas app developers lead busy lives; just because we didn’t formulate our own statement against getting rid of net neutrality doesn’t mean we aren’t passionately for the open internet. It’s also important to note that only 24,000 of the 8.6 million comments in favor of dismantling net neutrality were unique. That’s not to mention the controversy about bots submitting anti-net neutrality comments. The support for the Chairman Pai’s plan is paltry. It is a tragedy that it will likely go through, despite the outcry against it.

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