Let’s not mince words: the FCC’s plan to gut net neutrality protections in light of severe public opposition is likely one of the more bare-knuckled acts of cronyism in modern technological and political history. That’s because the rules have overwhelming, bipartisan support from the vast majority of consumers, most of whom realize the already imperfect rules are some of the only consumer protections standing between consumers and giant, uncompetitive companies like Comcast. Repealing the rules only serves one interest: that of one of the least liked, least-competitive industries in America.
Even after millions of comments arguing that internet protections are needed, it’s entirely possible that the commission will go ahead with its original, bare-bones plan to simply kill net neutrality and leave everything else up to internet providers to sort out.
FCC chairman Ajit Pai has, for the entirety of the net neutrality comment period, shown a willful disregard for public comments and interests. The FCC appears determined to repeal the rules in a decision that would only benefit companies that already occupy abusive duopoly positions in the market. Even worse, those make the decision seem perfectly willing to accept comments supporting their position that are clearly fraudulent.
Despite a study showing that 98.5 percent of individually written net neutrality comments support the US’s current net neutrality rules, AT&T is claiming that the vast majority of “legitimate” comments favor repealing the rules.
The Federal Communication Commission’s net neutrality docket is a real mess, with nearly 22 million comments, mostly from form letters and many from spam bots using identities stolen from data breaches.