Press Releases

PRESS RELEASE: New Survey Finds Americans Skeptical that FCC Regulation of the Internet Will Be Helpful; Favor More Disclosure

By The Progressive Policy Institute / 2.19.2015

For Immediate Release

WASHINGTON—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:

  • Nearly three out of four (74%) 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“These findings suggest that the FCC’s bid to impose outdated telephone regulations on the Internet is driven more by professional activists than by the public, which seems instinctively to resist the idea,” said Will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 “2015.02_Survey_FCC-Approach-to-Net-Neutrality.pdf/”

Survey Questionnaire

For more information, please contact Cody Tucker or Steven Chlapecka at 202.525.3926.

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