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The FCC somehow lost a bunch of net neutrality comments

The Federal Communications Commission said on Tuesday that more than half a million public comments were, in fact, missing from the bulk download that the agency had shared with the outside world in a bid to add some measure of transparency to the debate over net neutrality. The counting and miscounting of those those public submissions has been the subject of a fierce back-and-forth between those supporting and opposing the passage of rules that would govern how equally online content must be treated by Internet service providers.

After some katzenjammer about just how many comments were submitted to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regarding its notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) dealing with net neutrality, the governmental agency confirmed today that nearly 4 million comments were in fact submitted. Some had alleged that either several hundred thousand comments were missing, or perhaps that the agency had overstated the number of comments that it had received. As it turns out, the comments were missing, but they were not lost. The FCC today released a blog post that was at once exculpatory, and funny. Here’s the FCC’s explanation of how the comments in question didn’t make it out into the public: “[I]t’s important that people understand that much of the confusion stems from the fact that the Commission has an 18-year-old Electronic Comment Filing system (ECFS), which was not built to handle this unprecedented volume of comments nor initially designed to export comments via XML. This forced the Commission’s information technology team to cobble solutions together MacGyver-style. […]”

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