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Net neutrality poll: Big buck players shouldn't drive Internet speed, access

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Just one in every four U.S. citizens have faith in the government's ability to police web connectivity and approximately 68 percent of Americans stated the United States' polices for governing telephony are too old to apply to the Internet, according to a recent survey.

With the second and final round of public commentary on net neutrality coming to a close, CALInnovates' consumer survey confirms sentiments pulled from submitted comments and analysed by the Sunlight Foundation's machine-learning tools. The Sunlight Foundation is a nonprofit group founded in 2006 with a goal of increasing transparency and accountability in governments.

Just shy of half of the respondents in CALInnovates' survey stated their belief that legislation should be born of influence from consumers, the government and businesses. Approximately 23 percent of individuals indicating that one entity should draw up the rules stated consumers should make the decision, about 10 percent wanted to place it in the hands of business and roughly 8 percent stated the government should have the only say.

While his organization has attempted to conduct an objective survey, CALInnovates Executive Director Mike Montgomery says his group stands behind a free and open Internet. CALinnovates strives to bridge gaps between technology communities and policymakers in Sacramento and Washington.

"CALInnovates firmly agrees with Americans: the Internet must be kept free and open," says Montgomery. "And policymakers should also listen to Americans about the dangers of applying outdated laws to modern technology. In particular, the FCC should be wary of applying so-called Title II regulations to broadband providers and potentially startups themselves."

As indicated by the roughly 63 percent of CALInnovates respondents that stated that the Internet should remain completely free and open, the Sunlight Foundation's analytics of 800,000 consumer comments found that 68 percent of the submissions used language that strongly suggested they were opposed to paid and prioritized service.

While CALInnovates warns against merely reclassifying Internet service providers as "common carriers," which would give the FCC control over them, the Sunlight Foundation's analytics found that roughly two-thirds of the comments it analyzed called for the commission to do so.

In January of 2014, the government overruled the FCC's proposed Internet regulations because the commission was said to be attempting to govern Internet service providers under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934. ISPs fall under the general provisions of Title I.

The FCC will close the final round of public commentary on Monday, Sept. 15, before it moves on with the next phase of drawing up new policies to govern Internet connectivity. Email comments are accepted at openinternet@fcc.gov.

"The litmus test should not be what Netflix wants or what Comcast wants," says Montgomery. "But what will protect the next generation of great Internet companies that will strengthen the economy, create jobs and offer services to our consumers."

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