Survey suggests Americans are big fans of net neutrality.

Survey Suggests Americans Are Big Fans of Net Neutrality, Which Is Currently Under Threat

Survey Suggests Americans Are Big Fans of Net Neutrality, Which Is Currently Under Threat

Future Tense
The Citizen's Guide to the Future
June 8 2017 3:08 PM

Survey Suggests Americans Are Big Fans of Net Neutrality, Which Is Currently Under Threat

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Many Americans support net neutrality yet the FCC has voted to overturn rules from the Obama-era.

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In May 2017, the FCC voted to overturn net neutrality rules put into place during the Obama administration. The FCC is taking comments from the public about their thoughts regarding this issue.

But we already have an inkling about how the public feels, thanks to a survey Mozilla conducted with Ipsos, a global market research and consulting firm. It found that a majority of Americans support net neutrality.

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The study polled 1,000 Americans—354 Democrats, 344 Republicans, and 224 independents.

Seventy-six percent of the respondents said they “strongly support” or “somewhat support” net neutrality. The numbers were pretty consistent across political parties: Eighty-one percent of Democrats, 73 percent of Republicans, and 71 percent of independents “strongly” or “somewhat” support it.

Mozilla itself is a proponent of net neutrality and plans on taking part in a July 12 online protest being organized by Fight for the Future. It will be a day of action, during which websites will make various changes in what people see when using browsing. The idea is to demonstrate how important net neutrality is to the internet experience. Etsy, Amazon, and Reddit are among the other sites that have already announced that they will be involved.

Back in 2014, during Round 1 of the net neutrality debate, Amazon, eBay, Facebook, and others formed a coalition to challenge threats to the principle.

The survey also asked participants about whether they trust their government and companies to protect access to the internet and whether net neutrality is good for various groups. In general, respondents didn’t have much faith in the U.S. government to protect their access to the internet. Seventy percent of respondents specifically only slightly trust or don’t trust the Trump administration, while 78 percent slightly trust or don’t trust Congress. Just 10 percent of those surveyed say that they trust the Trump administration completely to protect internet access.

People were a bit less skeptical of internet companies, with 44 percent trusting them a little bit and 29 percent mostly trusting them. Furthermore, more than 50 percent felt that net neutrality was a good thing for internet service providers, innovators, small businesses, and “people like me.”

If you’re curious about what an internet without net neutrality might look like but don’t want to wait until the July 12 protest, you can download a Google Chrome extension that mimics what could happen. The extension is called Removal of Net Neutrality Simulator, and it slows down the internet and blocks certain websites. Maybe Congress and the FCC should give it a try.

Future Tense is a partnership of SlateNew America, and Arizona State University.