This article originally appeared on watchdog.org.
WASHINGTON, D.C. ‚ÄĒ¬†The Federal Communications Commission received over 3 million comments regarding its authority¬†over the nation‚Äôs Internet as the latest special interest battle at the agency concluded Monday.
After the FCC¬†voted¬†in May to allow¬†public comment on whether the Commission should regulate Internet service providers like phone companies, advocates representing major Silicon Valley companies and the nation‚Äôs ISPs redoubled efforts in a decade-long lobbying war.
Kim Hart, press secretary for FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler,¬†tweeted¬†that as of early Monday afternoon, comments submitted to the Commission ahead of a Sept. 15¬†deadline¬†for a second round of public input exceeded 3 million.
In mid-July, pro-net neutrality advocates boasted over a million¬†submissions¬†for the first round of comments.
Pro-regulation advocates would like the FCC to oversee broadband Internet services under¬†Title II of the Communications¬†Act of 1934, treating ISPs like phone companies. Title II, they argue, would prevent ISPs from charging Internet companies for faster service.
‚ÄúThe FCC is going down a dangerous path, risking future¬†Internet expression and innovation, and the big ISPs are¬†encouraging the commission every step of the way,‚ÄĚ said Electronic Frontier Foundation¬†Intellectual Property Director Corynne McSherry in a press statement.¬†
Concerned that the fight over net neutrality was too technical for the average voter to understand, California Congresswoman Anna Eshoo, who represents Silicon Valley,¬†hoped¬†to¬†rebrand the issue through a contest on Reddit, but even a majority ofrespondents¬†called for Title II.
During a recent call with reporters, however, Berin Szoka, president of the free market think tank TechFreedom, said Title II would likely have the opposite effect.
‚ÄúIf you‚Äôre in the United States, Title II would, if it were implemented, would force broadband providers to find new revenue streams and would transform paid prioritization from something that isn‚Äôt happening today and something that‚Äôs likely only to be a nice service in the future into a potential revenue source that broadband companies would need to turn to make up for the regulatory burdens of Title I and the price controls imposed under it,‚ÄĚ¬†said¬†Szoka.
Writing for Verizon‚Äôs Public Policy blog, director of digital policy communications Libby Jacobson¬†pointed¬†out, ‚ÄúOn the whole, telecom companies plowed an estimated $46 billion last year into their operations, leading all other industries.‚ÄĚ