How to comment on the FCC’s proposal to revoke net neutrality

Comment

Image Credits: Seattle Times/TNS / Getty Images

Today is the last day to comment on the FCC’s proposal to do away with net neutrality — and despite what leadership there has said, that’s definitely how the document reads. You are free to make your thoughts known on the notice of proposed rulemaking, as it’s called, and here’s how to do it.

Because millions of commenters nearly crashed the entire system when net neutrality was being established, the FCC has prudently improved the process ahead of the “significant public engagement and a high volume of filings” sure to come over the months. Here’s how to use it.

For most people

If you’re just a citizen who wants to make your voice heard, there are two ways of submitting a comment in the FCC’s Electronic Comment Filing System. First, go to the listing for the “Restoring Internet Freedom” proposal — yes, that’s what it’s called. On the left are two buttons.

(If the link above doesn’t work for you, go here and type “17-108” in the top box. It should fill itself in and the result will be the same.)

If you just want to write a note explaining your views or answer of the many questions in the NPRM, click “Express” — this has fewer boxes to fill out and no option for attaching documents.

For most people, the page should look like this:

If, on the other hand, you are (for example) a lawyer or professor and want to attach a more substantial analysis or chart, use “New Filing” and you’ll have the relevant tools.

Note that all this information will be publicly available, including your name and address! That’s part of the deal if you want to take part in the process. It also helps keep repeat and fake submissions down. (They’ll probably throw away the ones signed “Mickey Mouse.”)

For organizations and bulk submissions

Do you work at an organization, charity, school or the like, and have a bunch of comments that you’ve collected that you’d like to put into the system? The FCC respectfully asks that you not submit hundreds or thousands of similar comments via the ECFS form, as it can bog things down. Instead, you can submit them in bulk — they’ll all still count as individual messages, though!

Go to this page and download the template CSV file — it’s basically a spreadsheet with a number of basic headings that can be parsed easily by the FCC system. The template already has the correct information in the first three columns.

Just transfer the data from your form to that spreadsheet, then attach the spreadsheet and let the FCC know how to get in touch with you if something’s wrong with it. If you’re planning on submitting a really major collection of comments, the FCC asks that you get in touch first at ECFSHelp@fcc.gov.

Developers

Want to build a web app so your users can submit comments without going to the FCC website? There’s an API for that. You’ll need curl and a key from api.data.gov. Got those? All the necessary snippets and documentation are here.

What should you write?

All the comments will be looked at in one way or another, but substantial ones that address specific points in the proposal will almost certainly get a little more attention. Make your position clear, whatever it may be, and use the paragraph numbers in the NPRM to call out specific points. You can download it in a couple of formats here — it’s long, but scan through it and you’ll definitely find something worth commenting on.

Take your time to craft a substantial comment addressing a specific issue you can speak to personally, or that you’ve looked into enough to feel you have an informed opinion.

For example, say you wanted to weigh in on whether the ban on broadband providers throttling certain content is a good idea, or if you trust them to do so voluntarily. You could write:

Paragraph 82 asks for input on whether throttling should be regulated. In the past ISPs have throttled content based on their own determination of what was lawful or permissible, and had to be forced to stop in the courts. Isn’t it possible they could do this again? I’m also concerned by mobile providers who say a plan is “unlimited,” but when you exceed the data cap, only throttle sites and services that aren’t part of their approved zero-rating network. Thanks for reading my comment.

You can be more broad if you want, even if you’re not quite sure what things like Title II and Section 706 are:

I’m worried that the protections that are in place will be weakened if we change the way they’re enforced. I would support a new regulation style if it guarantees the same or better protections, but not if we lose any.

This kind of input is important, too. Let’s just try to avoid things like “You suck FCC! XD”

Unless you want to, you don’t have to have references or links or anything. This is about making your voice heard, not making a case in court. As long as you make your point clearly, your comment will be counted among those preferring one course over another.

That’s it — now get commenting! Tell ’em TechCrunch sent you.

More TechCrunch

Founder-market fit is one of the most crucial factors in a startup’s success, and operators (someone involved in the day-to-day operations of a startup) turned founders have an almost unfair advantage…

OpenseedVC, which backs operators in Africa and Europe starting their companies, reaches first close of $10M fund

A Singapore High Court has effectively approved Pine Labs’ request to shift its operations to India.

Pine Labs gets Singapore court approval to shift base to India

The AI Safety Institute, a U.K. body that aims to assess and address risks in AI platforms, has said it will open a second location in San Francisco. 

UK opens office in San Francisco to tackle AI risk

Companies are always looking for an edge, and searching for ways to encourage their employees to innovate. One way to do that is by running an internal hackathon around a…

Why companies are turning to internal hackathons

Featured Article

I’m rooting for Melinda French Gates to fix tech’s broken ‘brilliant jerk’ culture

Women in tech still face a shocking level of mistreatment at work. Melinda French Gates is one of the few working to change that.

19 hours ago
I’m rooting for Melinda French Gates to fix tech’s  broken ‘brilliant jerk’ culture

Blue Origin has successfully completed its NS-25 mission, resuming crewed flights for the first time in nearly two years. The mission brought six tourist crew members to the edge of…

Blue Origin successfully launches its first crewed mission since 2022

Creative Artists Agency (CAA), one of the top entertainment and sports talent agencies, is hoping to be at the forefront of AI protection services for celebrities in Hollywood. With many…

Hollywood agency CAA aims to help stars manage their own AI likenesses

Expedia says Rathi Murthy and Sreenivas Rachamadugu, respectively its CTO and senior vice president of core services product & engineering, are no longer employed at the travel booking company. In…

Expedia says two execs dismissed after ‘violation of company policy’

Welcome back to TechCrunch’s Week in Review. This week had two major events from OpenAI and Google. OpenAI’s spring update event saw the reveal of its new model, GPT-4o, which…

OpenAI and Google lay out their competing AI visions

When Jeffrey Wang posted to X asking if anyone wanted to go in on an order of fancy-but-affordable office nap pods, he didn’t expect the post to go viral.

With AI startups booming, nap pods and Silicon Valley hustle culture are back

OpenAI’s Superalignment team, responsible for developing ways to govern and steer “superintelligent” AI systems, was promised 20% of the company’s compute resources, according to a person from that team. But…

OpenAI created a team to control ‘superintelligent’ AI — then let it wither, source says

A new crop of early-stage startups — along with some recent VC investments — illustrates a niche emerging in the autonomous vehicle technology sector. Unlike the companies bringing robotaxis to…

VCs and the military are fueling self-driving startups that don’t need roads

When the founders of Sagetap, Sahil Khanna and Kevin Hughes, started working at early-stage enterprise software startups, they were surprised to find that the companies they worked at were trying…

Deal Dive: Sagetap looks to bring enterprise software sales into the 21st century

Keeping up with an industry as fast-moving as AI is a tall order. So until an AI can do it for you, here’s a handy roundup of recent stories in the world…

This Week in AI: OpenAI moves away from safety

After Apple loosened its App Store guidelines to permit game emulators, the retro game emulator Delta — an app 10 years in the making — hit the top of the…

Adobe comes after indie game emulator Delta for copying its logo

Meta is once again taking on its competitors by developing a feature that borrows concepts from others — in this case, BeReal and Snapchat. The company is developing a feature…

Meta’s latest experiment borrows from BeReal’s and Snapchat’s core ideas

Welcome to Startups Weekly! We’ve been drowning in AI news this week, with Google’s I/O setting the pace. And Elon Musk rages against the machine.

Startups Weekly: It’s the dawning of the age of AI — plus,  Musk is raging against the machine

IndieBio’s Bay Area incubator is about to debut its 15th cohort of biotech startups. We took special note of a few, which were making some major, bordering on ludicrous, claims…

IndieBio’s SF incubator lineup is making some wild biotech promises

YouTube TV has announced that its multiview feature for watching four streams at once is now available on Android phones and tablets. The Android launch comes two months after YouTube…

YouTube TV’s ‘multiview’ feature is now available on Android phones and tablets

Featured Article

Two Santa Cruz students uncover security bug that could let millions do their laundry for free

CSC ServiceWorks provides laundry machines to thousands of residential homes and universities, but the company ignored requests to fix a security bug.

3 days ago
Two Santa Cruz students uncover security bug that could let millions do their laundry for free

TechCrunch Disrupt 2024 is just around the corner, and the buzz is palpable. But what if we told you there’s a chance for you to not just attend, but also…

Harness the TechCrunch Effect: Host a Side Event at Disrupt 2024

Decks are all about telling a compelling story and Goodcarbon does a good job on that front. But there’s important information missing too.

Pitch Deck Teardown: Goodcarbon’s $5.5M seed deck

Slack is making it difficult for its customers if they want the company to stop using its data for model training.

Slack under attack over sneaky AI training policy

A Texas-based company that provides health insurance and benefit plans disclosed a data breach affecting almost 2.5 million people, some of whom had their Social Security number stolen. WebTPA said…

Healthcare company WebTPA discloses breach affecting 2.5 million people

Featured Article

Microsoft dodges UK antitrust scrutiny over its Mistral AI stake

Microsoft won’t be facing antitrust scrutiny in the U.K. over its recent investment into French AI startup Mistral AI.

3 days ago
Microsoft dodges UK antitrust scrutiny over its Mistral AI stake

Ember has partnered with HSBC in the U.K. so that the bank’s business customers can access Ember’s services from their online accounts.

Embedded finance is still trendy as accounting automation startup Ember partners with HSBC UK

Kudos uses AI to figure out consumer spending habits so it can then provide more personalized financial advice, like maximizing rewards and utilizing credit effectively.

Kudos lands $10M for an AI smart wallet that picks the best credit card for purchases

The EU’s warning comes after Microsoft failed to respond to a legally binding request for information that focused on its generative AI tools.

EU warns Microsoft it could be fined billions over missing GenAI risk info

The prospects for troubled banking-as-a-service startup Synapse have gone from bad to worse this week after a United States Trustee filed an emergency motion on Wednesday.  The trustee is asking…

A US Trustee wants troubled fintech Synapse to be liquidated via Chapter 7 bankruptcy, cites ‘gross mismanagement’

U.K.-based Seraphim Space is spinning up its 13th accelerator program, with nine participating companies working on a range of tech from propulsion to in-space manufacturing and space situational awareness. The…

Seraphim’s latest space accelerator welcomes nine companies