Oliver’s show went so far as to take out a domain name — gofccyourself.com — to give users an easier way to post comments to the FCC site. On Sunday, it appeared that the site’s page for comments was already overloaded.
In 2014, as the FCC was considering a new set of net neutrality rules, Oliver did an extended segment on his show. The next day, the FCC’s website crashed, and Oliver’s attention helped give public attention to the issue. Almost 4 million comments were received, leading to the commission’s decision in 2015 to reclassify internet service as a common carrier and to pass a robust set of net neutrality rules.
In his segment on Sunday, Oliver warned that net neutrality was again under threat, as new chairman Ajit Pai seeks to roll back the reclassification.
That move, Oliver said, would weaken net neutrality, and he pointed to reports that Pai supported a plan in which internet providers would voluntarily agree to a set of rules that would be a part of a customer’s terms of service. Oliver said that such rules would then be “as binding as a proposal on ‘The Bachelor.'”
“Once again, net neutrality is in trouble,” Oliver said.
He spent a great deal of his segment skewering Pai, noting that the FCC chairman had once promised to take a “weed whacker” to regulations.
Oliver said that the “dangerous thing about Pai is that he presents himself as a fun, down-to-earth nerd,” noting his penchant for making “Big Lebowski” references and for referring to his oversized Reese’s coffee mug as “infamous.”
But Oliver also noted that Pai was once an attorney for Verizon, which had challenged a previous set of FCC net neutrality rules.
Oliver blasted Verizon for claiming that it supported a free and open internet, when in fact it fought even a weaker version of the regulations than the ones in place.
“So when Verizon claims, ‘We love the open internet. Why don’t we just put it on a different legal footing, it’s basically O.J. Simpson asking why you won’t let him hold any of your samurai swords,” Oliver said.
The FCC will vote later this month on Pai’s proposal to repeal the classification of the internet as a common carrier — known as “Title II” in regulatory language — while leaving open the question of what, if any, rules should be in place. His proposal will then go up for months of public comment, with a vote expected by the end of the year.
Oliver also challenged Pai’s claim that the FCC’s move to reclassify the internet in 2015 diminished investment. He ran audio of a 2014 Verizon investor call in which one of its executives said that a move to Title II would “not influence the way we invest.”
Watch the video from “Last Week Tonight” below: