The FCC says it wants to hear from you on net neutrality. But how do you do that? Here are all the details.
Net neutrality: (also network neutrality or Internet neutrality) is the principle that Internet service providers and governments should treat all data on the Internet equally, not discriminating or charging differentially by user, content, site, platform, application, type of attached equipment, and modes of communication.
The FCC on Thursday moved ahead with a controversial net neutrality proposal that would put open Internet rules back in place – with a few caveats.
During a contentious open meeting, Chairman Tom Wheeler and the other commissioners stressed that the agency’s approval of the net neutrality rules was just a starting point. Final rules will not be voted on and put into place until after a 120-day public comment period. The FCC accepts comments from individuals and large corporations alike, so if you feel strongly about the issue, now is the time to submit your thoughts.
“This is your opportunity to formally make your point on the record,” Democratic FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn said yesterday. “You have the ear of the entire FCC. The eyes of the world are on all of us. Use your voice and this platform to continue to be heard.”
How do you actually do that?
- A list of open proceedings is available on fcc.gov/comments.
- The net neutrality rulemaking is Proceeding No. 14-28 and is known as “Protecting and Promoting the Open Internet.”
- Click “14-28” and it will bring you to the FCC’s electronic filing system.
- Type in your name, address, comment, and hit continue. Note that submitted comments will be part of the public record and available online.
- That form supports comments of up to several paragraphs. If you have more to say, and want to include attachments, navigate to the “Submit a Filing” page, which supports more lengthy comments. Just make sure you include the 14-28 proceeding number. If your comments are more than 10 pages, the FCC recommends that you include a short summary up front.
- If you prefer to submit via mail or in person, you can mail your comments to FCC Secretary Marlene H. Dortch at 445 12th Street, SW Room TW-B204, Washington, DC 20554. Or, you can hand deliver them to 236 Massachusetts Ave., NE, Suite 110, Washington, DC 20002 between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. ET.
The deadline for the first round of comments is July 15. A second round of reply comments – where you can address some of the issues people brought up in the first round – will run until Sept. 10.
People have not wasted any time submitting comments; hundreds have already been filed since yesterday. A number of filers appear to be using the form provided by the Electronic Frontier Foundation that expresses concern about a pay-to-play Internet.
Others are urging the FCC to reclassify broadband as a telecom service rather than an information service (also known as Title II or common carrier). This would give the FCC more authority over broadband providers than it has today, but it’s a highly contentious issue and likely faces a huge fight from ISPs if the commission goes in that direction.
If you’d like to peruse the entire notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM), meanwhile, the FCC released it late last night.