Net Neutrality Is a Hot Topic as FCC Meets

With the passage of Monday's deadline for public input on the issue of Net neutrality, the Federal Communications Commission had fielded more than 3 million comments and was still processing more. On Tuesday morning, the agency was also accepting questions via e-mail ahead of its first roundtable discussion on the issue.

The FCC is considering the possibility of allowing Internet service providers to offer "fast-lane" access to customers who are willing and able to pay a premium for such service. Opponents of such an option are urging the agency to reclassify Internet access as a utility-like service that is equally available to all.

In the days and weeks leading up to Monday's public comment deadline, supporters of Net neutrality organized an online "Internet Slowdown" protest, rallies in several cities, and an e-mail/phone campaign that generated widespread public support. That campaign has helped Net neutrality break the FCC's previous record for number of public comments submitted, which was set after Janet Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction" during the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show.

'Staying Optimistic'

Among the last-minute strategies aimed at showing public support for Net neutrality was a video billboard display outside the FCC's Washington, D.C., headquarters. Rolled out on Monday, the 11-foot-wide screen continued to play a stream of videos related to the issue on Tuesday as the FCC held roundtable discussions inside.

We reached out to Ted Worcester, head of product with the domain registrar Namecheap, to learn more about the video display that was organized by his company and the advocacy group Fight for the Future.

"We're out here till 7 pm tonight," Worcester said, adding that reaction to the billboard display has been "very interesting." "A number of people from the FCC have been taking pictures with their camera phones. It's been mostly positive (although) there have been a few...

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