A four-year investigation concludes that U.S. broadband companies hid their involvement in the campaign, resulting in 18 million false comments on the fast button issue, the New York Attorney General said .
The largest broadband companies in the United States funded a “secret campaign” in 2017 to generate millions of false public comments to the Federal Communications Commission to cover the regulator’s forecast of net neutrality rules, he said. say the person most responsible for enforcing New York law.
A four-year investigation by the state concluded that the companies hid their involvement in the effort, which resulted in 18 million false comments out of a total of 22 million on the hot button issue, he said. Thursday in a statement New York Attorney General Letitia James.
In a Republican-led vote in 2017, the FCC set aside net neutrality rules that prohibited broadband providers from favoring partners ’Internet traffic.
He later turned down calls to delay the completion of the rules, saying it had not been based on suspicious submissions. Ajit Pai, then president of the FCC under President Donald Trump, said the measure would “restore Internet freedom.”
“Almost every comment and message the broadband industry sent to the FCC and Congress was fake, signed with the names and addresses of millions of individuals without their knowledge or consent,” said James, a Democrat.
The comments “did not reflect people’s real views, with more than 8.5 million of those comments using real people’s personal names and information without their knowledge or consent.”
New York said in its report that the campaign was developed through the nonprofit group Broadband for America. The organization lists members including AT&T Inc., Charter Communications Inc. and Comcast Corp., as well as CTIA business groups, which represents large wireless operators, NCTA – The Internet & Television Association and USTelecom-The Broadband Association.
None of the companies or business groups responded immediately to emails requesting comments on the report.
FCC Acting President Jessica Rosenworcel, a Democrat nominated by President Joe Biden, who supports net neutrality rules, said the report shows the agency acted on a record that “was flooded. of fraud “.
“This was worrisome at the time, as even then the widespread problems with the registry were evident,” Rosenworcel said in a statement. “We need to learn from these lessons and improve because the public deserves an open and fair opportunity to tell Washington what they think about policies that affect their lives.”