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On Net Neutrality, California Cares; Texas? Not So Much

When nearly 1.1 million net neutrality comments flooded the Federal Communications Commission this spring into the summer, they came from around the country. But the interest in open-Internet topics doesn't spread out evenly across the United States.

San Francisco-based data analysis firm Quid looked at the geographic sources of the public comments and adjusted them based on state populations. As you can see, California and Washington state are overrepresented, and states in the South and Southwest — notably the deep South — didn't engage as strongly with this issue.

"You're seeing huge kinds of West Coast lean to this with Portland, California and Seattle with most overrepresented constituencies," Quid's Sean Gourley says, of the data. "The South and Texas are being pretty underrepresented."

The West Coast is home to some of the largest and most influential tech companies in the world, so the results may not be surprising. The Verge dug in on the hottest net neutrality cities, in which Washington, D.C., and San Francisco lead the pack.

We've written a separate post on the content of the comments. In short, Quid was able to parse out about 10 clusters or types of arguments that emerged on this subject and "the overwhelming majority comments are FOR net neutrality," Gourley said. Of the 10, Quid found only one set of comments supported Internet service providers or the position of cable companies. The other nine argued for as level a playing field as possible by maintaining regulations preserving net neutrality.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Elise Hu is a host-at-large based at NPR West in Culver City, Calif. Previously, she explored the future with her video series, Future You with Elise Hu, and served as the founding bureau chief and International Correspondent for NPR's Seoul office. She was based in Seoul for nearly four years, responsible for the network's coverage of both Koreas and Japan, and filed from a dozen countries across Asia.
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