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FCC swamped by 2,000+ net neutrality complaints against ISPs

Avalanche of gripes could come in handy once someone figures how to enforce new rules

The FCC has reportedly received over 2,000 complaints related to alleged violations of its Open Internet rules.

A report from the National Journal cites FCC records it obtained in reporting that thousands of complaints allege throttling of internet service by local carriers.

The National Journal was able, via a Freedom of Information Act, to post 50 of the complaints it obtained online. The complaints range from problems with slow connection speeds ("this is the 6th month my internet service is extremely slow") to the rambling and profane ("You seriously need to wake up and stop letting Verizon and att keep shoving their d***s up your a** and actually do what's right for the consumers instead of lining your pocket book").

"Windstream has the practice of selling unavailable internet and bandwidth they do not have. The funds to update the local drop box have been allocated but they have not completed the updates," reads a complaint filed against a local ISP in Arkansas.

"This family was sold internet at what they claimed was a lower price and better speed, but when the technician came out to do the upgrade we found out that we cannot get the promised internet speed and it would have cost us more."

In some cases, the FCC passes the complaint along to the ISPs in question and, when provided, the response is sent back to the customer. In others (such as the above rant about Verizon) the complaint is written off as "incoherent/unanswerable").

The FCC began receiving the complaints when it implemented its net neutrality rules in March. The commission has since added an ombudsperson to help keep track of the complaints and enforce rules.

What is not clear, however, is exactly how the FCC is supposed to enforce its rules against companies that violate the open internet laws. Speaking earlier this week in front of a congressional subcommittee, FCC chairman Tom Wheeler admitted to the commission that the FCC had yet to figure out how exactly it will be able to exercise its authority over ISPs and enforce penalties.

In the meantime, customers can lodge their complaints to the commission via the FCC complaint portal. ®

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