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Jun 19 2017

How to Write an Impactful Net Neutrality Comment


1. Write about yourself and how the net neutrality rules have affected you. Use your real name to tell the FCC who you are and why the open Internet is important to you. Maybe you are an entrepreneur who sells crafts on Etsy, which wouldn’t have been successful if ISPs could favor Amazon or eBay. You don’t have to use the Internet for online business; were you able to complete a high school, college or graduate degree over the Internet? Has Internet access improved your quality of life in any significant way? If you believe ISPs shouldn’t be able to choose what you do and don’t have access to, say so.


2. Write about what you understand you are buying when you purchase broadband Internet access. For the FCC to reverse the net neutrality rules, it must show that ISPs are offering, and you understand that you are buying, a bundle of “information services,” like email, cloud storage and other services. In 2015, when the FCC looked at what consumers believed they were buying from their ISP, and how ISPs advertised their products, they found that consumers were looking to buy a fast pathway to the Internet. And that’s what ISPs advertised – transmission speed and in the case of mobile, reliability and coverage. Tell the FCC why you buy Internet access. Is it to get an email address, cloud storage or other online services from that specific provider? Or is it to get reliable access to all the Internet offers at fast speeds?


3. Write about the choices you have (or don’t) for broadband Internet access. One of the arguments the FCC will make to repeal the rules is that they aren’t necessary because if your ISP is discriminating, you can choose another. In reality, an April 2017 FCC report showed that 58% of Americans have access to zero or one broadband ISP, and 87% have access to two. What choices do you have? Are they real choices, or are all the ISPs charging the same prices for the same services? What are the costs to you of switching? Would you have to pay to buy new equipment, or take a day off from work to wait for installation?


4. Write about what role you think the FCC should have in overseeing the market for broadband Internet access.The debate over net neutrality is really about whether the FCC, which is tasked by law to oversee communications networks, will have any role in overseeing access to the most important network of our lifetimes. This role includes ensuring that consumers are protected from invasions of their privacy, fraudulent billing, price gouging by their broadband providers, and others. If the FCC is left without authority over broadband ISPs, Comcast could double its prices overnight, and there wouldn’t be anything the FCC or any other agency could do about it. If you aren’t ok with that, and think that broadband ISPs should be subject to oversight by an expert agency, tell the FCC why and what type of oversight you’d like to see.

Example comments (excerpts):

Access and Equity: “We need neutrality because it’s important to free speech. It also prevents a decrease in access to minority and low-income communities.”

“Net neutrality is important to me because knowledge is a public good. If we have different speeds on the Internet, we privilege some knowledge over others. As a teacher, I’m extremely concerned about this. I want my students, who are from all over the world, to have equal access to knowledge.”

Small Business: “Net neutrality is fundamental to free speech. It also levels the playing field, so I can advertise with the same [ability] as the big companies.”

Free Speech: 

“Net neutrality is fundamental to our free speech. Without it, companies can make it harder to speak up online.”

“I’m an active duty military member with 19 years of service. I believe it’s super important for America and our values that people don’t tell me what’s right or wrong to watch on my computer. If I pay for an Internet service provider, I don’t need them throttling me, or giving preference to different websites or beliefs. Net neutrality is at the heart of American values.”

Development: “Net neutrality is important because it serves as the foundation for a free and open Internet. It’s how we’re able to research, contribute to open source software and further the development of the Internet as a whole. And the more we develop the internet, the more we develop society And if you allow a corporation to control the flow of that, you’re dooming our advance.”

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