According to polling data from a 2017 CALinnovates Internet Attitudes study, 74 percent of Americans said they would support net neutrality legislation that enabled them to use the internet free from government or corporate censorship, while creating one set of rules that applies to all internet companies—ensuring a level playing field that benefits consumers.
The survey, which polled 2,568 Americans from May 19-June 2, found a majority support the FCC’s push to repeal its current net neutrality regulation, instead preferring a more permanent law from Congress.
“Americans overwhelmingly favor a permanent net neutrality law over FCC regulations that can be changed from administration to administration,” said Mike Montgomery, executive director of CALinnovates, a non-partisan tech advocacy group based in San Francisco, in a news release. “Voters want Congress to do their jobs and legislate a sustainable solution to the net neutrality debate that creates clear, consistent, and platform-agnostic rules governing the treatment of their data.”
Counter to previous understanding about millennial views on internet issues, younger voters support legislation rather than short-lived or easily overturned regulations. The poll finds these Americans are the most likely to think the internet is over-regulated—in fact, 18-29-year-olds were nearly twice as likely to favor Congressional action versus continued FCC oversight.
“The sentiment from American voters is clear: Washington must rise above partisanship to create a policy model that keeps the internet open as a platform for free expression and creates certainty about internet rules,” continued Montgomery. “Doing so will lay the groundwork for the virtuous cycle of investment—boosting competition and job creation, while giving Americans peace of mind that the internet will be safe to use for years to come.”
Additional highlights from the research, conducted by market research firm Morar Consulting:
Concerns are mounting
In the years following implementation of the FCC’s 2015 Open Internet Order, Americans have grown more concerned, not less, about issues—throttling, blocking, and fast lanes—that net neutrality rules are designed to protect them from.
- Over the last few years, 58 percent of Americans have grown more concerned about throttling compared to 18 percent that have grown less concerned; 43 percent have grown more concerned about blocking compared to 28 percent that have grown less concerned; and 35 percent have become more concerned about fast lanes compared to 24 percent that have grown less concerned.
Rules need to be stabilized
Fifty-three percent of Americans believe Congress should pass legislation that sets basic internet users protections into law, and puts a stop to the ever-changing FCC rules. This compares to only 20 percent of Americans who believe Congress should allow the FCC to implement net neutrality regulations.
One set of rules to guide
Fifty-five percent of Americans said that to ensure a level playing field to the benefit of all consumers, there should be one set of rules that apply to all internet companies.
The Internet Attitudes Survey of 2,568 Americans has a margin of error of 1.9 percent.