Net Neutrality Debate Surpasses Janet Jackson's 'Nip Slip' in Number of Comments Sent to the FCC

I'm sorry Ms. Jackson, the net neutrality debate is for real.

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By Laura Entis • Sep 11, 2014

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

In case you missed it, yesterday was Internet slowdown day, in which a collection of tech companies -- including Netflix, Etsy, Kicktarter, Reddit, and Foursquare -- banded together to raise awareness regarding the FCC proposals to regulate the Internet.

In its wake, the FCC announced that it had received 1,477,301 public comments concerning the FCC's proposals since July, the Guardian reports. That number tops the previous record of 1.4 million comments, which was set in 2004 when Janet Jackson experienced an alleged wardrobe malfunction on live-television during that year's Super Bowl half-time show.

More comments regarding the FCC's proposals are likely to flood in before September 15, the deadline after which the agency will stop taking public submissions.

Related: A Brief, Unfolding History of Net Neutrality (Infographic)

The majority of the debate revolves around the FCC's proposal to eliminate net neutrality, which would allow Internet service providers to create multiple levels of connection speeds, charging companies for access to "fast lanes" -- a move critics argue will automatically create "slow lanes." There is a concern that if the FCC's proposal passes, promising new startups will face an insurmountable barrier to get up and running.

This summer, comments to the FCC dramatically surged after HBO's John Oliver called on Internet commenters to share their displeasure with the FCC and voice their support for net neutrality, the only reason "why the Internet is a weirdly level playing field, and startups can supplant established brands," he said. "The Internet in its current form is not broken, and the FCC is currently taking steps to fix that."

Oliver's rallying cry had an immediate effect: The FCC's website crashed under the volume of comments and calls it received shortly after the segment ran. Now, three months later, it appears that America cares more about net neutrality than it does about Janet Jackson's "nip slip."

Related: Etsy CEO: We Couldn't Have Succeeded Under Proposed FCC Net Neutrality Rule

Laura Entis
Laura Entis is a reporter for Fortune.com's Venture section.

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