The Washington Post

The FCC is so swamped with net neutrality comments, it’s extending the deadline

The Federal Communications Commission is being slammed by public comments on net neutrality right now. The problem is so severe that some visitors haven't been able to file their input — so the FCC is extending the deadline for comments until midnight on Friday.

The FCC's electronic comment filing system (ECFS) is 17 years old, but despite that, it's managed to handle a crush of traffic in recent weeks. Over 677,000 comments have now been filed with the agency on net neutrality (Update: An FCC spokesperson tells me the figure is up to 780,000 as of Tuesday afternoon). Some have come from high-profile lawmakers and businesses, but the vast majority come from ordinary consumers. But now a lot of people, myself included, are having trouble accessing the docket:

Screen Shot 2014-07-15 at 14.26.45

"We have seen an overwhelming surge in traffic on our Web site that is making it difficult for many people to file comments," said FCC spokeswoman Kim Hart. "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."

This isn't the first time the FCC's systems have crashed when it comes to net neutrality. Earlier this summer, ECFS went down in the days after John Oliver's epic net neutrality rant — though it later turned out to be a database denial-of-service attack.

This latest outage, though, appears to be the real thing — hence the deadline extension. In addition to using the Web site, whenever that gets restored — instructions here — you can also e-mail your comment to openinternet@fcc.gov. There's still time.

Brian Fung covers technology for The Washington Post, focusing on telecommunications and the Internet. Before joining the Post, he was the technology correspondent for National Journal and an associate editor at the Atlantic.
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