On Sunday night’s episode of “Last Week Tonight,” John Oliver gave an impassioned thirteen-minute speech about the FCC’s controversial net neutrality proposal, which, in case you haven’t been paying attention, would allow internet service providers like Comcast, Verizon and other giants to charge companies and websites for “fast lanes” to the web, which could leave smaller websites, companies, and online publications that can’t afford to pay in the “slow lane,” effectively doing away with the equally accessible level playing field that allows all online data to be treated equally, no matter who creates it.
Oliver said of the proposal:
“What’s being proposed is so egregious that activists and corporations have been forced onto the same side. That’s basically like Lex Luthor knocking on Superman’s apartment door and going, ‘Listen, I know we’ve had our differences, but we have got to get rid of that asshole in apartment 3b.’…And you might wonder, if everyone is against this, how is it even possibly happening? The guy who used to run with the cable industry’s lobbying arm is now tasked with the agency tasked with regulating it. That is the equivalent of needing a babysitter and hiring a dingo.”
The FCC opened up its initial open commenting period on May 15th, allowing citizens to weight in on how they feel net neutrality should be enforced. The open commenting period runs through June 27th.
With regard to this opportunity for people’s voices to be heard, Oliver urged his viewers — specifically those with a penchant for trolling — to, “for once in your lives, focus your indiscriminate rage in a useful direction. Seize your moment, my lovely trolls!”
And seize their moment they have.
While comments had already been rolling in, the day after Oliver’s speech saw so many people commenting at once that the FCC had to send out multiple tweets apologizing for the “technical difficulties” resulting from heavy traffic.
The number of comments filed to the official electronic commenting system has now exceeded 45,000, and the FCC has also received 300,000 emails in a specially designated inbox for the internet proposal. To give you an idea of how intense this deluge truly is, the next highest number of formal comments on an FCC proposal is just under 2,000.
Here’s the video of his speech, and we have to say that not only is he his usual funny self, but this man can go from funny to fury in .2 seconds, and does so with impressive eloquence. Once again, Oliver proves why the Shakespearean fool was often the wisest, sharpest speaker in the room.