If you find yourself needing to fight the same battles every few years or so, it helps to have someone as entertaining as John Oliver cheerlead the effort. Who else can spend almost 20 minutes covering the relatively inscrutable topic of net neutrality in such a way that inspires enough people to flood the FCC with comments so as to crash the site–again.
In a segment of this Sunday’s Last Week Tonight, Oliver revisited the subject of net neutrality, beginning with a look back on the first time the show tackled the subject in 2014, when the FCC was proposing rules that would have allowed for internet fast lanes, which would have provided organizations the opportunity to pay more for their sites to reach users at higher speeds than other sites. Oliver encouraged viewers to visit the FCC and add comments critical of the rules. Then, as now, the site was overwhelmed with comments and crashed as a result.
The way the story ended back then was that people power, as well as a prominent campaign by organizations like Mozilla, Google and Netflix eventually won out. In 2015, then FCC chairman Tom Wheeler and the commission preserved the principle of net neutrality by deciding to regulate broadband as a utility, which prohibited broadband companies from such un-neutral activities like offering fast lanes for a fee.
But the story didn’t end. Current FCC chair Ajit Pai wants to take it all back and undo that decision. And John Oliver wanted his viewers to let Pai know what they though about that, helpfully creating his own site, www.gofccyourself.com, which directs visitors straight to the comment page for the proposed rule reversal. There are currently 191,719 “filings” on the proposal, which includes comments.