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Why Comcast's Net Neutrality Promises Mean Absolutely Nothing
by Karl Bode 11:41AM Friday Jul 25 2014
We've already noted many times how despite the chorus of cries when they were struck down -- the FCC's original network neutrality rules didn't actually do much of anything. Crafted from language provided by AT&T, Google and Verizon, the rules contained numerous loopholes letting companies do effectively whatever they wanted -- provided they offered up a flimsy, reasonable-sounding faux-technical justification for it. They also failed to cover wireless. In short, the rules were a show pony.

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To get their acquisition of Time Warner Cable approved by regulators, Comcast has kindly proclaimed that as a merger "condition," they'll agree to adhere to the struck down rules for several more years.

The Washington Post notes how Comcast is running a series of print and TV ads patting themselves on the back for being the "only ISP in America legally bound by full net neutrality rules." Let us buy Time Warner Cable, Comcast argues, and our generous adherence to largely meaningless net neutrality rules will cover more people, benefitting everyone.

The Post notes that Comcast omits to mention that their breathless dedication to neutrality not only doesn't mean much but, like milk, it has a shelf life:
quote:
But what Comcast doesn't say is that its commitment to "full" net neutrality expires in 2018. After that, it will no longer be legally bound to follow the 2010 rules, and it'll be free to abandon that commitment literally overnight. Comcast does not note this detail in its ads; nor does it explain how its policies may change in 2018. In a statement to the Post, Comcast said the expiration of its net neutrality commitment was a "red herring" because it didn't have a problem with the 2010 rules and continues to "have no issue, long term, with them."
Even Post reporter Brian Fung affixes more value to the original rules than he should. Both the old FCC rules and the new proposal ban things ISPs have no intention of doing lest they incur the wrath of the public relations gods -- like simply blocking entire websites or services. Neither sets of rules cover the current net neutrality battlegrounds such as usage caps, wireless, or interconnection and peering.

AT&T, Verizon and Comcast all love the FCC's latest set of proposed neutrality rules, because they pre-empt the possibility of real, tough rules addressing real, modern neutrality issues. Comcast, meanwhile, has been historically able to tell regulators what the conditions on their mergers should be, a pretty obvious symptom of regulatory dysfunction.

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PlusOne

@66.249.83.x

2018 expiration will never happen

But what Comcast doesn't say is that its commitment to "full" net neutrality expires in 2018. After that, it will no longer be legally bound to follow the 2010 rules

An expiration doesn't mean much, because by 2018 Comcast will be doing another merger/takeover, and will agree to extend once again for FCC approval.
psiu

join:2004-01-20
Farmington, MI
Reviews:
·Comcast
·AT&T U-Verse

1 recommendation

Re: 2018 expiration will never happen

said by PlusOne :

An expiration doesn't mean much, because by 2018 Comcast will be merging/taking over the FCC and will agree to raise rates once again for shareholder (Congressional) approval.

FTFY -- I may be slightly cynical, though.
houghe9

join:2008-02-27
Lexington Park, MD
takeover who?

PlusOne

@66.249.83.x

Re: 2018 expiration will never happen

said by houghe9:

takeover who?

How about Google's fiber network when Google grows bored with it in a few years. Or WOW cable network. Or dozens of others.

Flyonthewall

@206.248.154.x
Comcast will probably be running their own presidential candidate directly by then, laws having been massaged to the point that they have an election because they have to, but they own all the chess pieces in play.

Titus
Mr Gradenko

join:2004-06-26
kudos:1

Isn't the simple answer

because it's Comcast?
--
--
rfrooney

join:2006-02-26
Antioch, TN

If you think Comcrap is dedicated to Net Neutrality just ask Netflix

Before Comcrap extortion - 3and one-half hours to watch a 90 minute movie due to buffering

After Comcrap extortion - HD ALL THE TIME AND NO BUFFERING!!!

Go figure.
rradina

join:2000-08-08
Chesterfield, MO

Good or Bad for Consumers?

Let us buy Time Warner Cable, Comcast argues, and our generous adherence to largely meaningless net neutrality rules will cover more people, benefitting everyone.
I know the article paraphrases what Comcast said but if they said something even remotely implying "benefiting everyone", why would they say that? Haven't carriers argued against net neutrality by saying the rules actually hurt consumers? Why are they offering adherence to defunct rules as a merger concession if their past argument is that such these rules actually hurt consumers?
Skippy25

join:2000-09-13
Hazelwood, MO

Re: Good or Bad for Consumers?

Because they talk out of both sides of theit mouth hoping nobody is smart enough to figure it out.

tshirt
Premium,MVM
join:2004-07-11
Snohomish, WA
kudos:5
Reviews:
·Comcast

Comcast doesn't say is that its commitment to "full" net neutrality expires

So if you feel the rules are totally inadequate, why would you care that they expire in 2018 or any other time?
Unless you think they have at least some value and you are hoping for more or to extend them further.

But you've beaten this story(dead horse) so much that like the little consumer who always cries "WOLF! few people think that there is any thing worth seeing, and turn away in sorrow.

Flyonthewall

@206.248.154.x

Re: Comcast doesn't say is that its commitment to "full" net neutrality expires

As opposed to stating publicly as a company you'll stick to rules you helped write that you know do nothing?

This is not a dead horse, this is relevant, and unless people take note and act it will be far too late, and Comcast will be sitting in the White House (brought to you by Comcast) a la Idiocracy.
moulder3

join:2007-05-21
Boston, MA

They've got some balls, I'll give Comcast that!

Net Neutrality, absolutely! Just ignore the man behind the curtain discussing transit & peering agreements. Ya know, the ones that forced Netflix to sign a transit agreement directly with us because we were letting peering points saturate.

What was I saying though? Oh yeah, we're 100% behind net neutrality!

Topmounter
Sent By Grocery Clerks

join:2001-02-20
Evergreen, CO

Only Lawful Content

It is important that the US Government regulate the Internet in the name of "Net Neutrality", if for no other reason, so they can enforce the NN provision that would "Prohibit the Blocking of Lawful Content", which of course connotes that you would no longer have a right to access content deemed to be "UNlawful" by the government.

Just think how much better Netflix would work if all Hate Speech, Pornography, Pirated Video, Inappropriate Images, Out of Print Books and other controversial (or otherwise unlicensed) content deemed undesirable by our government was retarded from the US Internet.

#ShinyHappyPeopleForever

pumpkinhead7

join:2002-06-14
Clarksburg, WV

Comcast are children

Comcast really looks to me like a spoiled child that will tell any lie it can to get their way. I am totally against the merger but I know its going to happen anyway because our politicians are bought and paid for by the lobbyists.