FCC extends Public Feedback Period as Comment System once again “Overwhelmed”

by Matt Klassen on July 17, 2014

The Federal Communications Commission is extending the public comment period regarding its latest controversial revision to its Net Neutrality proposal, as a last minute surge in traffic threatened to topple the site.

Saying nothing about the propensity of many of us to leave weighing in on such an important topic to the last minute, this is the second time in just over a month that the FCC’s electronic comment filing system has been crippled by an explosion in traffic, evidence both of how unappealing the most recent revision of Net Neutrality is and just how poor the FCC’s antiquated online systems are at handling any sort of concerted public feedback.

The reason behind this last minute surge in interest in Net Neutrality is due in large part to a public awareness campaign that has seen a number of high profile celebrities, politicians, and tech giants weight in on the issue, as many are concerned that the most recent Net Neutrality proposal caters to big broadband providers, allowing them to segregate the Internet into fast and slow service lanes. So if you feel that you need to add your voice to the growing chorus of those opposing the enslavement of the Internet by big business, you now have until Friday to make your opposition heard.

“The deadline for filing submissions as part of the first round of public comments in the FCC’s Open Internet proceeding arrived today,” said FCC spokeswoman Kim Hart. “Not surprisingly, we have seen an overwhelming surge in traffic on our website that is making it difficult for many people to file comments through our Electronic Comment Filing System.”

“Please be assured that the commission is aware of these issues and is committed to making sure that everyone trying to submit comments will have their views entered into the record,” Hart said, adding that the new deadline for submitting comments is midnight Friday.

As mentioned, this isn’t the first time the FCC’s comment system has been vulnerable to an explosion in traffic, as early last month comedian John Oliver incited a veritable online riot when he capped off a long segment on Net Neutrality with a plea to all “Internet trolls” to make their voice heard by commenting on the site.

While the impact of surges of public interest on the FCC’s IT systems have become a concern recently, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has been petitioning Congress for the necessary funds to upgrade the Commission’s IT infrastructure since early this year.

“We have more than 200 relic IT systems that are costing the agency more to service than they would to replace over the long term,” Chairman Wheeler said in his testimony to the US House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations. “We must overhaul, upgrade, secure and replace IT systems that are antiquated relics – costly to maintain and harmful to agency productivity.”

Once again, if you would like to weigh in on the controversial Net Neutrality proposal the deadline has been extended until Friday, and if you’d like to avoid the traffic jam that is the Commission’s Electronic Comment Filing System you can also enter your comments into public record via email, at openinternet@fcc.gov. Let make our voices heard!

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Written by: Matt Klassen. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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