Mozilla Poll Again Shows Net Neutrality Has Broad, Bipartisan Support

from the not-really-that-divided-after-all dept

So we’ve noted for a long time that while net neutrality is framed as a “partisan” issue, it really isn’t. Data has consistently shown overwhelming, bipartisan public support for the concept and the rules, in large part because of the way most people have been treated by marginally-competitive TV or broadband providers. But to help sow dissent among the public, large ISP lobbyists (and the lawmakers paid to love them) have been immensely successful in framing this as a hotly contested subject, usually by portraying the effort, incorrectly, as a “government takeover of the internet.”

A new survey from Mozilla and IPSOS once again highlights this cap between reality and common media and policy wisdom. The survey found, unsurprisingly, that over three quarters of Americans (76%) support net neutrality. When it comes to the supposed “partisan division,” the survey also found that 81% of Democrats and 73% of Republicans are in favor of it:

So again, this narrative that countless, angry Americans see net neutrality as “Obamacare for the internet” or “incredible government over-reach” tends to be the pervasive wisdom you’ll see in the press and in most ISP policy rhetoric, but it’s simply not accurate. Most people, across parties, realize the importance of a healthy and functioning internet. And, as the survey makes pretty clear, wanting to prevent giant companies like Comcast from using massive gatekeeper power to anti-competitive advantage against consumers and smaller companies isn’t really all that complicated.

“Americans view net neutrality as having a positive impact on most of society. Respondents said it is a ?good thing? for small businesses (70%), individuals (69%), innovators (65%) and ISPs (55%), but fewer think that it will benefit big businesses (46%).”

Or, put more simply by the folks at Mozilla:

“At Mozilla, we believe net neutrality is integral to a healthy Internet: it enables Americans to say, watch and make what they want online, without meddling or interference from ISPs (Internet Service Providers, such as AT&T, Verizon, and Time Warner). Net neutrality is fundamental to free speech, competition, innovation and choice online.”

It’s clear that most people understand that net neutrality is just a symptom of a lack of competition in the broadband market, something that has proven endlessly frustrating to consumers and entrepreneurs alike for going on two decades now. Fix the lack of competition, and you fix not only many net neutrality issues, but countless other problems — from privacy violations. Even the cable industry’s own polls reflect this reality.

But it’s also clear that the current FCC not only has no real plan to fix or really even acknowledge these competitive shortcomings, but also wants to replace the already-fairly flaccid oversight of the sector with the technology policy equivalent of damp cardboard. All while ignoring the massive, overwhelming support for the rules piling up in their own proceeding’s comment section. What’s more, they seem to be under the impression that there will be zero repercussions for giving the public a giant, obnoxious middle finger on this subject. One would like to think they’re wrong on all fronts.

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Comments on “Mozilla Poll Again Shows Net Neutrality Has Broad, Bipartisan Support”

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32 Comments
Vidiot (profile) says:

So much of this traces back to the Title II issue. To me, data connectivity is a public utility, like water, electricity, sewer and natural gas. Since it’s impractical to have multiple providers’ gas pipes, for instance, pass everyone’s homes, we agree, in the case of utilities, to suppress good ol’ American commercial competition and allow single-supplier markets, albeit with strong regulation.

It was an odd evolution that found CATV operators, also regulated utilities, generating content that competed across delivery platforms (with satellite and telco), effectively creating a competitive commercial market somewhat within their regulated utility-intended space… a chimera that, apparently, defies regulation today.

Other utilities have come to grips with this without needing to bribe legislators and mislead the public. Electric customers, in most cases, can select a competitive generation provider… the power then travels the “last mile” over regulated, utility-maintained cabling. While copper still reigned, telcos dipped a toe in competitive markets via CLEC’s, again delivering over the regulated last mile. It makes sense that our utility-grade data network can also serve as a noncompetitive last mile… and in so doing, make our networks neutral. I think this is the part that everyone can understand, and which shows up in polling.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“Since it’s impractical to have multiple providers’ gas pipes, for instance, pass everyone’s homes, we agree, in the case of utilities, to suppress good ol’ American commercial competition and allow single-supplier markets, albeit with strong regulation.”

So, you LIKE what is going on right now then? Okay got it.

“Other utilities have come to grips with this without needing to bribe legislators and mislead the public. Electric customers, in most cases, can select a competitive generation provider… the power then travels the “last mile” over regulated, utility-maintained cabling.”

Ahh… another “uninformed” person that thinks they know more than they do.

Ninja (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

He is right. Some infra-structure is heavily regulated because they are natural monopolies. It makes no sense to build electricity distribution infra structure twice, three times for every different generator. So the govt regulates the field to avoid abuses and overcharging and whoever wants to make money there has to follow the rules. Pure and simple.

You are the uninformed here. Or rather, a paid moron to regurgitate industry talking points where people haven’t asked it seems.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

It makes no sense to build electricity distribution infra structure twice, three times for every different generator.

I actually lived in an area once that was served by two different electric companies. One company ran it’s wires down one side of the allies and streets, and the other the other. Customers could choose to connect to either one. The electric rates were the best I ever saw.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

“Okay got it.”

You really don’t.

“Ahh… another “uninformed” person that thinks they know more than they do.”

I do love the way that people claiming that other posters are “uninformed” neither identify themselves (thus making an appeal to authority without quantifying the authority) nor explain exactly what is wrong with the other person’s statement. Bare assertions without substance.

So, either you’re a hit-and-run troll or you think that anonymous, unquantifiable, unverifiable claims are great things to base your opinions upon. Neither option is particularly flattering for you.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Here’s a tip: back in the days when the telegraph reigned supreme, the US of A tried the unregulated approach you described. The results were, needless to say, chaotic.

Furthermore, if you take the laid-back approach to utility competition, you get a race to the bottom on variable costs and once the winner of that race is decided by the market, they had free reign to abuse their monopoly position, the high fixed costs of entry acting as a natural barrier to competition.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

“the unregulated approach”

What was not said in that post. You guys are far to single minded on this issue. You take the stance that anyone not agreeing with your position as only one thing.

On top of that, the words regulation and deregulation do not mean what you think they mean. Here at TD you guys have these “very” ignorant understanding of those words.

@TD Regulation = “Laws that benefit Consumers”
@TD DeRegulation = “Laws that benefit business”

I hate to break it to you guys but that is not what regulation means. You have allowed big business to frame the very words you are using on the subject at hand. You are not being a service to yourselves.

Regulation is just regulation, and there is no deregulation occurring, just a “change” in the regulations on the books. ISP’s still have to follow laws established for their businesses, you just don’t like them.

Many of you including TD itself has been caught up in the game of Buzzword Bingo that you have become more of a shell game on the subject matter.

Most of you are essentially the type of people that believe two cars of equal mass in a head on collision at 45 mph is the same as a car hitting a concrete wall at 90 mph. You THINK you know more than you do, and because of the Dunning-Kruger effect you cannot be reasoned with and like a bunch of politicians you double down on the stupid instead of actually trying to learn.

Natural Monopolies are not necessary.
Regulation does not save you from any of the evils of capitalism.
And the perfect hell for democrats and republicans would be living in worlds where 100% of their policies came true!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

I don’t think he’s mistaken in what “regulation” means.

Not all regulation is pro-consumer, nor all de-regulation is pro-corps.

For example, what many people in TD are asking regarding copyright is a de-regulation, particularly in private usage of it. Right now, copyrightable works are heavily regulated in what you can and you can’t do with them.

And that regulation in copyright issues is pro-corporations, not pro-consumers.

In short, in telecoms, net neutrality is pro-consumer regulation so that ISPs can’t do whatever they want.

Copyright, on the other hand, is pro-corporation (or pro-producer, at least) regulation so that we can’t do what we want with the products.

As an example, if you couldn’t fix a car you bought because copyrights, that would be a regulatory approach we wouldn’t like.

Thad (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re:

So, you LIKE what is going on right now then? Okay got it.

And, once again, another ironclad rule of the Internet proven: if a statement begins with "So" and ends with "got it", you don’t have to read what’s in-between; it’s always, always a strawman.

Ahh… another "uninformed" person that thinks they know more than they do.

Nope, the same one, over and over again.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

There is a possible variation to that system that is applied in (at least some) EU Member States.

An operator owns the infrastructure (it builds and maintains it), but he must sell or rent either the produce (like bandwidth) or parts of that infrastructure (usually the connection to your home) to other businesses at a set price (lower than the price applied to customers, of course).

That way, you only need one heavily regulated infrastructure, but you get a competitive market between different providers.

I think that model, or a similar one, is what’s being used in the EU. In the EU, for example, is unthinkable to have a single provider for a fairly populated area (remote areas are different, and some still get 2-3 providers).

I do consider telecommunications public utilities, that should be heavily regulated for quality assurance and avoid consumer abuse; but that doesn’t mean that they necessarily need to be monopolies.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I know.

And see how contradictory is that the price regulation is what keeps telecoms market, if not a free market, a more competitive one instead of the monopolies you get in the US.

There are a lot of people that mix together the concepts of “free market” with “deregulated” market.

Anonymous Coward says:

Polls don't matter

Petitions don’t matter.

Policy statements don’t matter.

People don’t matter.

None of this is going to make the slightest impact on what happens next. The decisions have already been made, and they’ve been made to benefit the oligarchs of the Internet — who are the only ones who matter. Everyone leaving comments for the FCC is wasting their time, everyone taking polls like this is doing the same. All the decisions were made months ago and they won’t be changed.

The systematic looting of the United States is under way, and whether it’s network neutrality, health care, the environment, safety regulations, Wall Street regulations, or anything else, if it stands in the way, it WILL be obliterated.

Thad (user link) says:

Re: Polls don't matter

None of this is going to make the slightest impact on what happens next.

But it might make an impact on what happens after that.

As our anonymous friend has TOLD US SO so very, very many times, and wants to make absolutely sure you know that he TOLD YOU SO, elections exist, and sometimes different people get into office and do different things than their predecessors did. (He believes he is very clever for making this observation, over and over again.)

The point isn’t to get Pai to change his mind. The point is to apply pressure to people who are up for reelection in 17 months, and to demonstrate the massive support that net neutrality has among the public, ideally to convince a future Congress to pass strong net neutrality legislation but, failing that, to convince a future FCC head to restore Title II classification. And in the meantime, to provide evidence in the upcoming, inevitable litigation against the FCC for its reversal.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Polls don't matter

I want to agree with you.

I REALLY want to agree with you.

But I’m currently watching the same GOP that was tough on defense and tough on America independence and tough against China and tough against the USSR (etc.) for my entire lifetime turn itself inside-out trying NOT to investigate massive election tampering/rigging/interference because their guy won. (Let’s put aside whether or not he was really their guy, they did in fact nominate him even they had to hold their noses to do it.)

I’m not convinced we’ll have elections in 17 months. I’m not convinced those elections will be fair. I’m not convinced those elections will be honest. I AM convinced that they will use every means at their disposal (e.g. gerrymandering, voter disenfranchisement, voter ID laws, etc.) to win them. I AM convinced that if their guys win that they will once again steadfastly insist that nothing could have possibly happened. I AM convinced that there will be massive Russian involvement again because — why not? It worked. (No, I don’t mean electing Trump, although certainly getting someone their oligarchs and politicians completely own installed as President is a win. It worked because it destabilized the US and by extension NATO. It was brilliant.)

I hate writing this. I especially hate because I always considered the GOP my political adversary but my patriotic ally. Fight like hell but band together against all enemies, that sort of thing. I watched them take down Nixon because it was necessary — country over party. And now I’m watching them put party over country at all costs. They don’t want to hear it, they don’t want to know it, all they care about is winning, winning, winning, and damn the United States.

So I’m skeptical that elections — fair, honest, open, valid, real elections — are coming.

I hope I’m dead wrong.

Thad (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re: Polls don't matter

I know people who insisted Bush was going to suspend elections and declare martial law. It didn’t happen.

Trump’s a lot less popular than Bush, and a lot more vulnerable.

You’re right about the dirty tricks the GOP has pulled to make it more difficult for Democrats to win; those are nontrivial barriers (and could get worse after 2020, since they seem set on botching the census). But the basic facts of midterms haven’t changed: the people who turn out are almost always people who are unhappy with the current administration. The opposition party almost always takes the House.

Bush ’02 was an exception, and that was down almost entirely to 9/11 (with a side order of Democratic cowardice; see Joe Lieberman’s insistence that they shouldn’t run on Enron because they wouldn’t want to look anti-business). It is possible that, God forbid, another terrorist attack, or some other traumatic event, could shore up Trump’s support the way it did for Bush, but I don’t see things playing out the same way if it were to happen again. Trump makes Bush look like a levelheaded, competent diplomat. I think the reaction to a national trauma on Trump’s watch would look a lot less like the public reaction to Bush after 9/11 than the public reaction to Bush after Katrina.

Except Trump’s current approval ratings are already lower than Bush’s post-Katrina ones.

On top of that, even if you take Trump out of the equation, the current Republican agenda is extremely unpopular. They’re already experiencing serious backlash on the AHCA, and net neutrality is a lot more popular than the ACA.

Thad (user link) says:

Re: mo what , havent upgraded since 51

I had to look up what you were talking about; your post is not at all clear. I get your point on NPAPI deprecation being a pain point, but I think it was probably the right call.

Tangentially: I really don’t care for the phrase "go full retard". It was funny in its original context in Tropic Thunder, but the 4chan/Reddit types who’ve turned it into a catchphrase seem to have missed what the joke actually was. The movie wasn’t making fun of mentally handicapped people, it was making fun of the exploitative, hypocritical, and unrealistic way that Hollywood treats mentally handicapped characters. That’s the joke. And yet a lot of people seem to have watched the movie and reacted with "Huh-huh, he said retard."

Mr Big Content says:

"Bipartisan" Liberal Propaganda Hooey

We all know these code words that teh leftists and socialists use to insuniuate there agenda into the so-called “facts”. They’re is no “bipartisan”. BECAUSE YOU CAN NEVER COMPRIMISE WITH LIBERALS! Their wrong, and thats that. Right-thinking Republicans supporting so-called “net neutrality”? (Net Communism, more like.) Only a loony lefty would entertain such a propestoreus idea!!!

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