Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Garbage Report Funded by ISPs Claims That Net Neutrality Comments on the FCC’s Website Are Worthless

Adam Clark Estes, Gizmodo:

The report in question comes from Emprata LLC, a DC-based data research company, and was paid for by Broadband for America, a big telecom lobbying group. That second detail is important, since the report ultimately claims that a larger proportion of the comments from verifiable addresses were in favor of repealing the open internet rules. On the flip side, Emprata found the vast majority of comments both for and against repealing the FCC’s open internet rules consisted of form letters, with many coming from “seemingly ‘fake’ email addresses.” These findings suggest that the protest against repeal is driven by bots and that more actual humans want the open internet rules repealed. Which certainly sounds like a conclusion that big telecom lobbyists would love. We’ve also seen evidence of the opposite being true.

It would be convenient for net neutrality advocates if the story was as simple as that. But as even the study itself admits, it’s “very difficult to draw any definitive conclusions from the comments found in the docket.” And it’s the FCC’s fault.

The vast majority of those who commented on the FCC’s proposal favour preservation of Title II classification for ISPs, but because many of them were submitted by people who either failed to provide complete contact information or used obviously phony email addresses, Emprata has managed to produce the conclusion that real people really want to repeal Title II classification. Never mind that thousands of those apparently real people were automated submissions.

Mind you, millions of real Americans supporting the preservation of net neutrality regulations is unlikely to have any effect on this hopeless FCC administration.