Give Us Net Neutrality or Give Us Death (Yours)

Not surprisingly, over two-thirds of Americans support net neutrality, a new survey of over 1,000 people, conducted earlier this month, has shown. One in four believe that the glacial pace of government policy making cannot keep up with the speed of IT innovations. Sixty-three percent said that all internet traffic should be the same, without the pay-for-priority “fast lanes” that broadband internet providers have suggested.

Bender Should Not Be Allowed on Television, and Telephone Regulations Should Not Apply to the Internet

The survey was conducted by Zogby Analytics for CALinnovates, a group that includes broadband provider AT&T, among other similarly interested parties. Respondents overwhelmingly agreed that decades-old regulations established for the telephone industry should not apply to the internet.

The FCC’s proposed move to reclassify broadband internet as a regulated public utility is not an acceptable one, these results show. If the internet is going to be regulated at all—which it should not be; it should remain open to all with equal footing given to every site and every access point—the only acceptable solution available is broadband’s reclassification as a regulated common carrier.

The study did not specifically ask respondents about reclassifying broadband as a regulated public utility under Title II of the Telecommunications Act because, by CALinnovates’ estimation, many of those surveyed wouldn’t have understood Title II. Thanks for thinking we’re all a bunch of dummies, CALinnovates!

Net Neutrality

What Say You, Group Made Up of Broadband Providers?

Somewhat actually surprisingly, broadband providers, who will make money hand over fist with or without net neutrality, agree with the general public. According to Mike Montgomery, executive director of CALinnovates, the group supports net neutrality but not the reclassification of broadband as a regulated public utility. He stated that CALinnovaties is open to a compromise of net neutrality rules that protect internet traffic but don’t require Title II regulation.

“We need a reset button,” Montgomery said, “so we can take a fresh look at net neutrality in a way that uses 21st-century laws and 21st-century wisdom.” (It should be noted that “21st-century wisdom” is not a thing.) “We believe [in] and support a free and open internet without paid prioritization or fast lanes, but we’re fearful that the options being considered could hinder, rather than help achieve, this net neutrality that we all want.

“I believe that if you’re worried about the speed of the internet, the worst possible thing you could do is turn it into a utility under utility-style regulation,” he added. CALinnovates suggests that Title II regulation would slow innovation and hurt investment in the internet.

“The Numbers Tell the Story”

Average joes across the country have made their opinions on the matter known to the legislators who hold the fate of net neutrality in their pudgy, lilywhite hands. In support of net neutrality, the general public have made over 300,000 calls sent over 2.1 million emails, along with posting over 1.5 million comments on the FCC’s website. Of those comments, it’s a fair guess that about ten have been read by the intended recipients.

“The numbers tell the story,” said Evan Greer, campaign director for Fight the Future and someone who’s a little fuzzy on how stories and words work. “People everywhere are using the internet to save the internet from phone and cable companies. The FCC and Congress can no longer dismiss the overwhelming consensus of public support for real net neutrality protections.”

Photo credit: Brian Lane Winfield Moore / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

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