Consumer Reports Survey: Majority of Americans Support Net Neutrality Rules

Experts

Senior Policy Counsel
Communications Director
Sr. Media Relations Associate

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

New survey demonstrates strong support for FCC regulations as public interest organizations hold Net Neutrality Day of Advocacy on Capitol Hill

WASHINGTON, D.C. –  The majority of Americans support net neutrality rules to prevent internet service providers (ISPs) from blocking or discriminating against lawful content on the internet, according to a new, nationally-representative survey by Consumer Reports.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved net neutrality rules in 2015, citing the need to keep the internet free and open to all traffic.  But the FCC’s new chairman Ajit Pai is now advocating for a plan to repeal the rules. The five-member commission is expected to vote on the plan, which has the backing of many ISPs, in the coming months.

The Consumer Reports survey finds 57 percent of Americans support the current net neutrality rules, while 16 percent oppose them and 27 percent did not state an opinion. The survey finds strong opposition to practices by ISPs that are prohibited by the rules today, such as the 67 percent who disagree that ISPs should be able to choose which websites, apps or streaming services customers can access.

The importance of internet access to consumers is reflected in several responses, as 79 percent say they rely on the internet at least five days a week, and 68 percent say they rely on it every single day. Sixty-one percent agree with the statement “internet service is as important as electricity or water in today’s world.”

Consumers Union, the policy and mobilization division of Consumer Reports, says these survey results demonstrate why the FCC chairman’s plan to eliminate net neutrality rules should be rejected.  The survey also shows the critical need to guarantee that consumers have fair access to the internet.

“This survey makes it very clear that the majority of Americans support net neutrality rules, while the FCC is running in the opposite direction,” says Jonathan Schwantes, senior policy counsel for Consumers Union.  “If the FCC repeals these rules, it would be giving a green light to an internet service provider to play favorites with its preferred websites, while saddling other sites with slower speeds and higher hurdles to reach consumers. The FCC plan would put us on a path where consumers would likely pay more money for the online access and speeds they have today, while small businesses would no longer have a level playing field to compete online.  The internet is an essential part of our daily lives, and it should remain free and open.”

Consumers Union is sharing the survey results today as it joins a coalition of public-interest organizations for the Net Neutrality Day of Advocacy. Public Knowledge, CU and other groups are bringing people to Capitol Hill to urge their members of Congress to support net neutrality rules and oppose the FCC plan to roll back the rules.

CU is bringing consumers from Colorado, Ohio and Oregon to the Hill. The nonprofit organization’s latest petition to the FCC and Congress in support of net neutrality rules is online at consumersunion.org/netneutrality

The Consumer Reports phone survey was fielded by ORC using a nationally-representative sample. The survey was conducted from July 20-23, 2017. The study was conducted using two probability samples: randomly selected landline telephone numbers and randomly selected mobile (cell) telephone numbers. The combined sample consists of 1,005 adults (18 years old and older) living in the continental United States. Of the 1,005 interviews, 504 were from the landline sample and 501 from the cell phone sample. The margin of error for the sample of 1,005 is +/- 3.1% at the 95% confidence level.  Final data is weighted by age, gender, region, race/ethnicity and education to be proportionally representative of the U.S. adult population.

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Contact: David Butler, dbutler@consumer.org, or Kara Kelber, kara.kelber@consumer.org202-462-6262

 

Consumer Reports is the world’s largest independent product-testing organization. Using its more than 50 labs, auto test center, and survey research center, the nonprofit rates thousands of products and services annually. Founded in 1936, Consumer Reports has over 7 million subscribers to its magazine, website, and other publications. Its policy and mobilization division, Consumers Union, works for health reform, food and product safety, financial reform, and other consumer issues in Washington, D.C., the states, and in the marketplace.