The FCC has extended its deadline for filing initial comments on proposed new network neutrality rules from July 15 to Friday, July 18, conceding its system is a bit overwhelmed by the response.
“The deadline for filing submissions as part of the first round of public comments in the FCC’s Open Internet proceeding arrived today," said FCC press secretary Kim Hart. "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). 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 email@example.com, and your views will be placed in the public record.”
The FCC had already received over 600,000 comments as of last week on FCC chairman Tom Wheeler's proposal to restore the FCC's anti-blocking rule essentially intact, while boosting transparency requirements, and resurrecting the anti-unreasonable discrimination rule by turning a ban, which was disapproved by the federal court, into a case-by-case review of "commercially reasonable" discrimination.
Wheeler has signaled that Internet fast and slow lanes are not commercially reasonable, but has also pointed out that some discrimination, like remote health monitoring over game playing, should not be banned outright.
“Given the record public interest, I am pleased that the FCC decided to offer Americans additional time to share their voices on the net neutrality proposal,” said Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Calif.) a member of the House Communications Subcommittee. “I urge all Americans who care about the future of the open Internet to share their views with the FCC. Our country cannot afford so-called Internet fast lanes or special paid prioritization agreements. We need strong net neutrality protections in place that truly preserve a free and open Internet.”