FCC Chairman Ajit Pai proposed a plan that would eliminate Obama-era regulations.
Video provided by Newsy
New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and twenty-eight U.S. senators said Monday they were seeking a delay in a Federal Communications Commission vote to repeal Obama-era Internet regulations, citing a profusion of fake public comments surrounding the hot-button issue.
“Federal law guarantees every American a voice in this process,” Schneiderman said during a New York City press conference Monday. “An investigation by my office has revealed that this process has been deeply corrupted.”
But the FCC said it will stick to its Dec. 14 plan to repeal the net neutrality rules that prevent Internet Service Providers from throttling or blocking content online, and prohibit ISPs from prioritizing some content over others, possibly for payment.
“At today’s news conference, they didn’t identify a single comment relied upon in the draft order as being questionable. This is an attempt by people who want to keep the Obama Administration’s heavy-handed Internet regulations to delay the vote because they realize that their effort to defeat the plan to restore Internet freedom has stalled,” FCC spokeswoman Tina Pelkey said via email.
The fight over fake comments is a new front in a nearly year-long long tussle over whether a rollback of landmark Internet regulations will hurt or help consumers.
The FCC, led by Republican Ajit Pai, say the rules were heavy-handed and stymied investment in broadband, a view supported by big telecom and Internet providers, such as Comcast and AT&T. The nation’s largest web companies, such as Google and Facebook, and digital rights advocates, say repealing the regulations will make it easier for Internet providers to favor content, including from their own channels.
Spurred by HBO’s John Oliver, who rallied his viewers to support existing regulations, a tsunami of comments flooded the FCC website during the open comment period, exceeding 23 million. But groups on both sides started to notice many were fakes.
Schneiderman pointed to a study paid for by an industry group that represents Internet service providers called Broadband for America, which he says has acknowledged that as…