Public Knowledge, ACLU, others get FCC to extend deadline for net neutrality comments

The FCC will continue to accept filings on net neutrality.

The FCC said it would continue to accept comments on its net neutrality proceeding for another two weeks, an extension to the deadline that had been requested by a number of public interest groups including Public Knowledge, Access Now, the American Civil Liberties Union, Consumers Union and others.

However, the FCC extended the deadline for another two weeks, not the eight weeks that the groups had asked for. “While we recognize that Movants have requested an eight-week extension of the reply comment deadline, we find, consistent with past Commission precedent granting partial extensions, that an additional two weeks is an appropriate period of time to extend the reply comment deadline in order to provide parties additional time to analyze the technical, legal, and policy arguments raised by initial commenters,” the FCC wrote in its filing on the extension.

CTIA, NCTA and USTelecom has opposed the motion for extension.

As the Verge noted, the FCC’s ongoing net neutrality proceeding is already the agency’s most popular ever, with close to 20 million filings. Further, the proceeding was the subject of a recent DDoS attack; the FCC did not mention that event in its extension.

Not surprisingly, the FCC’s net neutrality proceeding has generated a significant amount of disagreement as the Trump administration has signaled its intent to dismantle the net neutrality guidelines instituted by the previous Obama administration. The current net neutrality guidelines are largely based on the Title II regulations from the Communications Act, and are geared toward prohibiting internet providers from prioritizing certain types of internet traffic.

Already, FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, one of the remaining Democrats at the regulator, has said that maintaining classification of broadband services under Title II will ensure competition and drive greater service availability. “Taking away Title II for broadband undercuts our ability to ensure universal service for broadband by taking away our clearest source of authority to make sure all Americans are connected,” Clyburn said recently.

Meantime, AT&T, Verizon and others continue to argue that Title II is the wrong method with which to regulate service providers.