I Caused the Net Neutrality Fight So Blame Me

If you’ve been under a rock for the past few months, you’d not know about the FCC’s request for comments on the topic of Net Neutrality. Thanks to the sterling work of John Oliver and others in raising awareness, over one million comments were submitted.


However, I am in the middle of some significant personal issues, so I couldn’t give this matter, or more specifically the response, the level of attention it deserved. In fact, it was unlikely I was going to even have a half-finished response to send. However, the demand overloaded the FCC’s comment system again on Tuesday, and things were extended to Friday.

That gave me a few more minutes to bash out some comments that made more sense, with references, which is important. You see, in many ways, I helped start this fight 7 years ago.

I had started at TorrentFreak in 2007, and one of the first serious research jobs I was given was to check this report on DSLforums by a guy named Rob Toplowski. He claimed that Comcast was interfering with bittorrent traffic. So, I took a leaf out of my friends at Mythbuster’s book, and I reached out to friends and acquaintances all over the US, to see if I could re-create the issue.

I could.

This led to more stories, and then our results were confirmed by the EFF and Associated Press. That led to FCC hearings, and so on, and eventually the Net Neutrality rules at the heart of it all. I’ll write more on the whole process, and what happened where and when at a later time (and of course, I wasn’t alone in it, I had the other wonderful people at TorrentFreak – Ernesto, Enigmax/Andy and Ben helping and supporting, as it was very much a team effort)

So that’s my perspective, as a footnote that kick-started everything going on.

I didn’t just include that bit of history, however I pointed out my personal experiences with infrastructure upgrades (mainly those of a ‘planned but not carried out’ persuasion) and how despite many years of progress in the relevent technologies, my plan and service has been unchanged in performance and price for 7 years. (still $52/month for 6/0.5Mbit DSL connection, when the FCC definition of ‘broadband’ has been ‘at least 4/1Mbit’ since 2010.)

 But, without further ado, the comment by yours truly.

ANorton Comment on Protecting and Promoting the Open Internet