A Messy Docket

It’s no secret that the Title II repeal put forward by the FCC has been a rather hot topic. But as a new report from data analytics company Emprata shows, the public comment phase has been inundated with an amazing number of dubious entries.

In the report, which utilizes the FCC’s application programming interface to examine the full dataset of the nearly 22 million publicly available comments, Emprata finds that 20 million of those comments filed via form letters. In addition, nearly eight million comments — 36% of the docket — appear to have been submitted via disposable email accounts generated from FakeMailGenerator.com, and nearly two million comments — nearly all of which oppose repealing Title II — can be attributed to international addresses outside of FCC jurisdiction.

As for sentiment in the data, Emprata’s deep dig finds that nearly 10 million of the public comments filed listed the same email and physical address, and that taking just the first comment from each address into account — and ignoring duplicate entries from those same addresses — the remaining comments are widely in favor of repealing Title II to the tune of 86% in favor compared to 14% opposed.

The full Emprata report (which was commissioned by the organization Broadband for America) is available at their website. But one major takeaway from the findings should be that when it comes to Title II, and net neutrality as a whole, the issue is now so convoluted — and so heated — that the only way to finally put it to rest once and for all is for Congress to formally enshrine net neutrality rules into law in a way that protects the open internet and encourages ongoing broadband investment. Otherwise, the same arguments will keep happening over and over again — and with more and more fake voices shouting.

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