Majority of Americans Concerned About Internet Regulation

By Progressive Policy Institute, Special for  USDR

The Progressive Policy Institute (PPI) today released the results of a new survey finding that most Americans are unfamiliar with the term “net neutrality,” want greater disclosure of the details of the FCC’s proposal to regulate the Internet, and think that the government regulating the Internet like a public utility will not be  helpful.

The nationwide survey, by Hart Research Associates, was conducted from February 13 to 15, 2015 on behalf of PPI.  The survey was conducted by telephone (both landline and cell phone) among a cross section of 800 adults age 18 and over. It  found:

  • Three out of four (75%) Americans are unfamiliar with the term “net neutrality” and what it refers  to.
  • 73% of Americans want greater disclosure of the details of the FCC’s proposal to regulate the  Internet.
  • Nearly eight in ten (79%) Americans favor public disclosure of the exact wording and details of the  FCC’s proposal to regulate the Internet before the FCC votes on it.
  • Only one in three Americans thinks that regulating the Internet like telephone service will be  helpful.

“The public neither understands nor supports the FCC voting on net neutrality rules without greater disclosure of the exact wording and the details of the proposal,” said Peter Hart, Founder of Hart Research Associates. “Net neutrality is near net zero understanding: just one in four Americans knows what the term refers to, and just one in 10 Americans has positive feelings about it.  In addition, a majority of Americans think ‘the government should not take a stronger and more active role in overseeing and regulating the  Internet.'”

“These findings suggest that the FCC’s bid to impose outdated telephone regulations on the Internet is driven more by professional activists than by the public, which seems instinctively to resist the idea,” said Will Marshall, PPI President. “That’s why Congress should take a closer look at what the FCC is up to and make sure these issues get a thorough public  airing.”

The survey’s margin of error is ±3.46 percentage points for 800 adults at the 95% confidence level.  Sample tolerances for subgroups are larger. This is the first of several public opinion surveys PPI plans to release on issues related to regulation of the Internet and telecommunications  law.

Download the survey results:

SOURCE Progressive Policy  Institute

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