The comment total is already past 1,100,000, but who’s counting?
Really, would it be possible to get too many net neutrality comments? As if.
So we’re pleased to report that the FCC has extended the deadline for filing reply comments by five days. The new deadline is September 15, 2014.
The original reply deadline was September 10, but the Commission was concerned because, as we all remember, the initial comment deadline got extended from July 15 to July 18 (because the Commission’s online filing system was, um, choking a bit on the volume of comments being filed). Since initial commenters got an extra three days, figured the FCC, reply commenters should get the same. And since a three-day extension would plunk the deadline onto a Saturday, everybody gets an extra two days, taking the deadline to the following Monday.
So if you were sweating about getting your reply wrapped up in time, you can totally chill.
And don’t think any replies filed at the very last minute will go unread. One of Chairman Wheeler’s Special Counsels has assured us all that “every comment will be reviewed as part of the official record of this proceeding” – and yes, the boldface italics on “every” are in her original, so she must really mean it.
They’d better get cracking on that review, though. As of August 4 the Commission had received more than 1,100,000 comments in the Open Internet (a/k/a net neutrality) docket. Updating our earlier projection about the time necessary to review incoming comments, let’s run the numbers.
Remember, our working assumption is that one FCC staffmember doing nothing but net neutrality comment review for 52 40-hour weeks per year, and processing one comment every five minutes, can process approximately 25,000 comments in a year. So every additional 100,000 comments add four more years to the project. When we did our last calculation, the comment total was hovering around 1,000,000 – meaning our imaginary staffer would need 40 years to wade through all the comments. With the comment total up to 1,100,000, we’re looking at 44 years now.
And that number is going nowhere but up. With an extra five days to go before the door slams closed on reply comments, we can probably expect another several hundred thousand, minimum, and possibly a lot more than that. Keep your calculators handy.