John Oliver's epic 13 minutes on "preventing cable company fuckery" really resonated with the public. It resonated so much that it broke the FCC's website comment system. It also generated 22,000 comments to the Federal Communications Commission in just a few days.
Oliver didn't do it all alone—comments to the FCC since it voted to forward a two-tiered internet plan that would create a fast lane for the companies that could pay for it are breaking records.
The FCC has received more than 45,000 comments on the net neutrality proposals since May 15.That's some context. It also doesn't count the emails and comments it received prior to May 15, when the proposal hadn't yet been formally presented. Nor does it count all the petition signatures that have been forwarded to the FCC from organizations like Daily Kos. The FCC has never sen the likes of this campaign to preserve net neutrality, which is slightly sad, considering some of the really horrible telecom mergers it's decided on in the past few decades.
Those just account for the comments filed to the official electronic commenting system. Separately, the FCC says it's received 300,000 emails in a special inbox it set up in late April for the public to weigh in on its open Internet proposal. For context, the next highest number of formal comments on an FCC measure is just under 2,000.
But it's a testament to how essential a free and open internet is to life in our society. Because what is more dry, more arcane and more eye-glazingly dull than federal regulatory policy on broadband? What could possibly push hundreds of thousands of people to go the FCC's website and comment on that regulatory policy? Hating cable companies is probably part of the motivation, described well by Oliver. But the larger part is how ingrained the internet is in our daily lives. We should keep it.