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Study shows two-thirds of Americans don’t trust their internet service providers

The survey was framed by Mozilla as an example of why net neutrality should be restored.

 

Andrew Wyrich

Tech

Published May 7, 2021   Updated May 7, 2021, 1:33 pm CDT

Mozilla, the tech company behind the Firefox browser and long-time supporter of net neutrality rules, released a survey this week that found that a majority of people don’t think internet service providers are looking out for them.

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The survey was framed by Mozilla as an example of why net neutrality rules should come back.

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Net neutrality rules—which prohibited ISPs from blocking, throttling, or using paid prioritization of internet traffic—were repealed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in 2017 when it was controlled by Republicans. Now, the FCC can have a Democratic majority once President Joe Biden fills out the agency.

The 3-2 Democratic votes would allow the FCC to move forward with net neutrality restoration, among numerous other things. That’s why numerous advocacy groups have been pressuring Biden to nominate a fifth and final commissioner.

With all of this as a backdrop, Mozilla released a survey this week showing how consumers feel about ISPs.

The survey, which was conducted in March with YouGov, found that 63 percent of consumers don’t trust ISPs to look out for their best interests. It also found that 72 percent want to control what they see online without meddling or interference from ISPs.

Those findings track with other surveys that have been conducted in the past that show net neutrality being an overwhelmingly popular policy.

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“This opportunity to reinstate federal net neutrality rules comes during a global pandemic when Americans are relying heavily on an open internet, one with equal access and no fast lanes for the content ISPs want to prioritize for profit,” Ashley Boyd, Mozilla’s vice president of advocacy and engagement, said in a statement. “By guaranteeing a level playing field online, net neutrality rules foster innovation and free expression while also protecting consumers from predatory business practices.”

Earlier this year, Mozilla led a push by several tech companies that urged the FCC to make net neutrality restoration a priority once it was filled out by Biden.

Besides the expectation that the FCC will restore net neutrality rules, at least one member of Congress has promised to introduce a bill that would make the rules a law. With Democrats controlling both chambers of Congress, its path toward passing faces fewer obstacles than in the past.


Read more about net neutrality

The FCC is deadlocked. When will Biden finally fix that?
Mozilla, advocates, more defend California’s net neutrality law as it faces appeal
Talking net neutrality and the digital divide with Gigi Sohn, former FCC counselor
Study shows two-thirds of Americans don’t trust their internet service providers
House Republicans revive old talking points to kick off new opposition to net neutrality

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*First Published: May 7, 2021, 1:01 pm CDT