Jumpstarting the discussion

Comedian’s skit helped bring attention to net neutrality

The Federal Communications Commission has released nearly 450,000 public comments regarding net neutrality (see this week’s cover story, page 18) since announcing proposed rule changes in May. By analyzing the volume of comments and submission dates, Pew Research Center found that, while major media outlets have given the issue press, it took a comedian’s cable TV sketch to get the public really engaged. In the week prior to a June 1 sketch about net neutrality on HBO’s Last Week Tonight With John Oliver, the FCC received 3,076 comments; in the following week, it received 79,838—an influx that reportedly helped crash the commission’s online comment system.