FCC Extending Net Neutrality Commenting Time After Site Buckles

Jul 15, 2014
Originally published on July 16, 2014 10:32 am

A flood of comments about net neutrality crashed the Federal Communications Commission's commenting site on Tuesday, the original deadline for public comments on the controversial Internet proposal. But the tech problems are buying those who want to weigh in some extra time — the deadline for public commenting is now Friday at midnight.

Of the 780,000 comments submitted to the FCC, 100,000 came on Tuesday alone, which the FCC's outdated electronic comment filing system was not capable of handling.

"Just to be sure that everyone can have a chance to submit their comments, we are extending the deadline," FCC spokesman Mark Wigfield said.

On the table is a proposal that would allow Internet providers, like Comcast, to charge content companies, like Netflix, extra fees to deliver faster content to consumers.

This is one of the most heavily commented-on policy items the FCC has ever considered, but it's unlikely to surpass two other notable FCC-related events. Two million comments were registered on media deregulation. And the FCC received 1.4 million comments about Janet Jackson's infamous Superbowl wardrobe malfunction 10 years ago.

The commenting site is available here.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Now the Federal Communications Commission has been encouraging comments on its website about net neutrality. When you ask people on the Internet to comment on the Internet, you get comments - a flood of comments, in fact - so many that they crashed the FCC website yesterday on what was supposed to be the deadline for public comments. The tech problems are buying some more time. Here's NPR's Elise Hu.

ELISE HU, BYLINE: Net neutrality may have a snooze-inducing name as comedian John Oliver has famously noted.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

JOHN OLIVER: The only two words that promise more boredom in the English language are featuring Sting.

HU: But it is important to the future of the Internet, and hundreds of thousands of Americans, clearly, care about it.

MARK WIGFIELD: Our electronic comment filing system was definitely overwhelmed.

HU: That's FCC spokesman, Mark Wigfield. He says so far, the FCC has gotten 780,000 public comments about a proposal on the table to let Internet providers like Comcast charge content companies like Netflix extra fees to deliver faster content to consumers. One hundred thousand of those comments came in on Tuesday alone, the original deadline for public commenting. It buckled the FCC site.

WIGFIELD: So because of that and just to be sure that everyone can have a chance to submit their comments, we're extending the deadline until midnight on Friday.

HU: That buys time for more people to weigh in, but it's unlikely the net neutrality comments will surpass two other notable FCC related evidence. Two million comments were registered on media deregulation. And the FCC received 1.4 million comments or complaints about Janet Jackson's infamous Super Bowl wardrobe malfunction of 10 years ago. Elise Hu, NPR News, Washington. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.