WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Federal Communications Commission on Tuesday pushed back to July 18 the first deadline to submit comments on the agency’s proposed new Internet traffic rules after a surge in traffic overwhelmed its online filing system.
Companies, consumer advocates, lawmakers and citizens had sent nearly 680,000 comments on the FCC’s proposed so-called net neutrality rules – which guide how Internet service providers (ISPs) manage web traffic on their networks – as the deadline for first comments approached on Tuesday.
For much of Tuesday, however, the database appeared to be down or unaccessible, which FCC spokeswoman Kim Hart attributed to an “overwhelming surge in traffic.”
“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,” she said, announcing a delay of the deadline to midnight on July 18.
After that, commenters will be able to reply to each other’s initial submissions through Sept. 10.
The proposal has attracted one of the biggest responses in FCC’s history, and showcased the complicated and intense debate launched by FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler in April.
After a federal court in January struck down the FCC’s previous version of such rules, Wheeler proposed new rules that would ban ISPs from blocking users’ access to websites or applications but allow some “commercially reasonable” deals between content providers and ISPs to prioritize delivery of some traffic.
The proposal stirred up consumer advocates who have long advocated that the FCC reclassify and regulate ISPs as telecommunications services, more like public utilities – a move vehemently opposed by cable and wireless carriers as well as Republicans both in Congress and at the FCC.Wheeler has not proposed reclassification as the solution, but has not taken it off the table as a potential route. Republican lawmakers and industry experts have also suggested that reclassification may still leave the door open for paid prioritization deals.
Thirteen prominent Senate Democrats, including Ed Markey, Richard Blumenthal, Cory Booker, Charles Schumer and Elizabeth Warren, wrote to the FCC on Tuesday calling for reclassification, with appropriate legal caveats for the industry.
Another call for reclassification on Tuesday came in the co-signed comments from Attorneys General Eric Schneiderman of New York and Lisa Madigan of Illinois.
Several web companies such as Vimeo and Etsy have also urged the FCC to reclassify ISPs, though the industry’s Washington representative, the Internet Association, has not sought that specific approach in its opposition to the proposal to allow some pay-for-priority deals.
“We don’t want to live in a world where there are fast lanes and slow lanes for the Internet because we don’t believe we could afford to pay for the fast lane,” Etsy’s Policy Director Althea Erickson told Reuters TV on Monday.
“It’s really hard to imagine Etsy being able to start and grow under the conditions that the chairman is proposing.”
(Reporting by Alina Selyukh; Additional reporting by Karen Freifeld and Lily Jamali in New York and Marina Lopes in Washington; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Bernard Orr)
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro takes on Norway for whaling, but bungles it
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Monday responded to Norway's decision to halt its forest protection subsidies, taking to Twitter to criticise the Scandinavian country for its whaling practice and post spectacular -- albeit misleading -- images.
"Look at the killing of whales sponsored by Norway," Bolsonaro wrote on Twitter.
The post includes a video and photographs of a spectacular whale hunt, where mammals in the shallow waters of a bay are slaughtered by people wading on shore, armed with hooked knives. The whales' blood turns the waters red.
However, the images, reportedly taken on May 29 in Norway, illustrate a "grind", a type of pilot whale hunt practised exclusively in the Faroe Islands -- a Danish territory in the North Atlantic.
Orange County teens busted for singing obscure Nazi song while giving Hitler salutes
Nearly a dozen high school students from Southern California delivered Nazi salutes and sang a Nazi marching song in a video posted on social media.
The video was uploaded to Instagram by one member of the boys’ water polo team at Pacifica High School in Garden Grove, California, along with lyrics to the song played for German troops during World War II, reported The Daily Beast.
A spokesperson for the Garden Grove Unified School District told the website administrators learned of the incident in March, four months after the video was posted, but declined to say whether any of the students were disciplined.
Donald Trump is America’s clown prince
“The problem with political jokes,” Groucho Marx once said, “is that they keep getting elected.” Never has that been more true than today. We live in a world ruled by clowns. I mean that both literally and figuratively. Our century has ushered in the Age of the Clown Politician.
In Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, who played a Ukrainian president on the popular television comedy SERVANT OF THE PEOPLE, was elected to be the real president with over 70 percent of the vote. Zelensky is literally a clown. In Great Britain, Boris Johnson, who will replace Theresa May as prime minister, is a buffoon who elicits laughter –usually unintended- wherever he goes. Mr. Johnson is figuratively a clown.