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Study: Nearly all unique comments to FCC opposed net neutrality repeal

Study: Nearly all unique comments to FCC opposed net neutrality repeal
© Greg Nash

Nearly 100 percent of unique comments made on net neutrality to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) last year were in opposition to the agency's eventual move to repeal the regulations, according to a new study by a Stanford University researcher.

After sifting through 22 million comments filed with the FCC and filtering out all duplicates and fakes, Ryan Singel, a media and strategy fellow at Stanford, found that commenters overwhelmingly supported the now-repealed 2015 Open Internet Order.

Before voting to repeal federal net neutrality protections last year, the FCC opened up an online form to collect comments from the public. 

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Singel discovered that of the 800,000 unique comments posted, 99.7 percent were in favor of net neutrality. His findings were released Monday and first reported by Motherboard.

The report, entitled “Filtering Out the Bots: What Americans Actually Told the FCC about Net Neutrality Repeal," showed that Americans were well-informed on what net neutrality is and made their feelings clear, Singel wrote in a blog post Monday.

“With the fog of fraud and spam lifted from the comment corpus, lawmakers and their staff, journalists, interested citizens and policymakers can use these reports to better understand what Americans actually said about the repeal of net neutrality protections and why 800,000 Americans went further than just signing a petition for a redress of grievances by actually putting their concerns in their own words,” read the report.

The report also suggests that net neutrality could play a role in the upcoming midterm elections, with many of the so-called “toss up” states having significant representation from pro-net neutrality commenters.

A group of Democratic state attorney generals sued the FCC over the repeal of net neutrality laws. The FCC is asking a federal appeals court to uphold its decision.

Last month, the Department of Justice sued California just an hour after Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed the state’s own version of net neutrality regulations into law.