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Comcast wants Congress to put net neutrality repeal into law

December 16th, 2017 at 3:32 PM
Comcast, Charter, net neutrality repeal

Not satisfied with yesterday’s landmark repeal of net neutrality provisions in the FCC, Comcast is now working to set their victory in stone.

In a blog post following the FCC vote yesterday, Comcast Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer David Cohen wrote that “we really must have bipartisan congressional legislation to permanently preserve and solidify net neutrality protections for consumers and to provide ongoing certainty to ISPs and edge providers alike.”

The vote yesterday removed the FCC’s power to enforce net neutrality provisions on internet service providers. In place of the FCC, the FTC will now “regulate” the ISPs, but its power is far less than the FCC’s. The FTC can only enforce a company’s own terms and conditions on itself, so ISPs are free to move the goalposts as far as they’d like.

Comcast is right that the gold standard for net neutrality provisions would be a bill, passed by both Houses, that would enshrine net neutrality in law, and require more than just a 3-2 vote of appointed Commissioners to overturn. But I have a feeling that the kind of bill Comcast is looking for would have the broadest possible strokes, and leave the door open to subtle forms of discrimination like zero-rating.

Just look at the language it’s promoted in the past: It’s seeking a “light regulatory approach that would protect the openness of the Internet but that would also protect the continued investment and innovation that has made the Internet the vibrant and dynamic place that it is today.”

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