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FCC Receives a Record Volume of Comments on One Hot-Button Issue NY Times

The public is weighing in loudly with its views on an issue that has increasingly captured its attention, with the Federal Communications Commission having received about 780,000 comments on net neutrality, The New York Times reports.

The volume of comments is far more than the agency has received on any other previous rule-making proceeding, the story reports.

The FCC has extended the deadline for first-round comments to Friday, instead of closing them yesterday as had been planned. A round of reply comments will be open until Sept. 10, the story adds.

The agency is working on tweaking its rules to ensure an open Internet, with FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler proposing an idea that would allow “commercially reasonable” deals between broadband operators such as Comcast and online media distributors such as Netflix.

Critics say that would create a two-tier system for the Internet, with fast service enjoyed by those with means, and slower traffic tolerated by others. Wheeler, who previously worked as a lobbyist for the cable and telecom industries, has said the agency would demand a “high bar” for reasonable arrangements.

“A sampling of the many thousands of individual comments posted on the commission’s website is heavily weighted toward urging the FCC to take strong action to preserve net neutrality and criticizing Mr. Wheeler’s proposal as not doing that," the article notes.

tom wheeler.pngTom Wheeler