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Net Neutrality Battle: FCC Extends Time for ‘Open Internet’ Comments

The government is abandoning its original deadline of Tuesday night and giving people until Friday to offer comments

The Federal Communications Commission is crying “uncle” and will push back its original Tuesday night deadline that had been set to allow people to comment on Chairman Tom Wheeler‘s open internet proposal.

Part of the government’s website was stalled by the deluge of public comments, and the FCC decided to movie its Tuesday deadline to Friday, so that more people could offer comments.

As of Monday, the government had received more than 677,000 comments — one of the largest numbers of public comments ever logged during a federal regulatory rulemaking in history.

Also read: Net Neutrality Battle: FCC Flooded With Calls to Bolster ‘Open Internet’ Rules

“We have seen an overwhelming surge in traffic on our website that is making it difficult for many people to file comments through our Electronic Comment Filing System,” said FCC press secretary Kim Hart in a statement. “Please be assured that the commission is aware of these issues and is committed to making sure that everyone trying to submit comments will have their views entered into the record. Accordingly, we are extending the comment deadline until midnight Friday, July 18.”

Consumer groups have been using social media to urge the public to comment and have pointed to the number of comments as demonstration that the FCC needs to act more strongly. Among the groups involved in the effort are Common Cause, the ACLU, Free Press, reddit, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Mozilla.

Also read: Hollywood Needs Net Neutrality, Too (Guest Blog)

It is now expected that more than one million comments will be filed and the number could be far greater than that.

“The unprecedented outcry from nearly a million everyday Americans supporting Net Neutrality makes FCC Chair Tom Wheeler‘s choice crystal clear,” said Keith Rouda, organizer of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee in a statement. “He can side with the interests of everyday internet users or telecom companies like Comcast, AT&T, Verizon, and Time Warner.”