Comcast Continues To Pretend To Support Net Neutrality With Misleading Claims

from the because-of-course-it-says-that dept

We’ve mentioned in the past how Comcast has been pretending to support net neutrality, with ad campaigns stating that it does — clearly in an attempt to confuse the public. Yesterday, Comcast even put a thing on its own front page claiming that the company is “committed to an open Internet and Net Neutrality.”

That links to a blog post from David Cohen, Comcast’s chief lobbyist / government relations guy, whose job it is to convince lawmakers to rubber stamp any of Comcast’s big plans; from killing (not preserving) net neutrality to letting it acquire Time Warner Cable. Cohen, who has ridiculously and cynically been given the title “Chief Diversity Officer” (by which we assume means the guy who gives money to minority groups to have them repeat Comcast’s talking points), tries to make the argument that Comcast supports net neutrality.

Again, as we’ve noted in the past, this is not actually true. Comcast supports the 2010 open internet rules that were painfully weak and didn’t really limit Comcast in any meaningful way. And Comcast supports them because it’s legally obligated to support those rules as part of the terms of its last big merger, with NBC Universal. But that agreement runs out in a few years and Comcast has, in the past, shown a willingness to compromise on net neutrality issues, and as it gets bigger that seems likely to continue. Many of Cohen’s claims are outright laughable:

We don?t interfere with our customers? ability to access lawful content online.

Well, unless that lawful content you want to access online is from Netflix, and Netflix hasn’t paid up at the Comcast tollbooth. As a reminder, here’s the wonderful chart that the Washington Post put together of Netflix’s download speeds on various broadband networks. See the black line as it drops and drops before suddenly darting upwards? That’s Comcast purposely letting its border routers clog up until Netflix paid the toll, and Comcast went in and hooked up a few more ports (a trivial exercise it could have done quite a while ago if it actually cared about its customers’ ability to access lawful content online.)

So, uh, yeah, Comcast does interfere. And, of course, it’s done so in the past as well, such as the time it throttled all Bittorrent traffic, whether it was “lawful content” or not. Or how about more recently when it came out that Comcast is using packet injection to insert its own ads over other company’s websites?

As today?s actions show, the availability and access to lawful content and websites online is ultimately up to the provider of that specific content.

Until they get big like Netflix, and then it’s up to how much that provider is willing to pay Comcast to stop letting their traffic purposely degrade.

We continue to be committed to delivering the same high-quality, high-speed Internet service that our customers rely on each and every day.

Committed… right up until the point Comcast feels it can shake down a company to pay extra just so Comcast’s consumers can actual reach them with the bandwidth those customers already bought.

Of course, the meat of the post is that Comcast really, really, really hates the idea of reclassification under Title II. You can practically hear Cohen screaming “don’t do it!”

What we don?t support is reclassification of broadband as a telecommunications service under Title II because it would harm innovation and investment. It would harm the very thing we love about the Internet ? the speed at which it can change, adapt, and innovate. And a Title II reclassification is simply not necessary.

Except Comcast is not exactly viewed as a particularly innovative or adaptable company. Comcast totally tried to mislead the FCC by misrepresenting a Fortune listing of “most admired” companies (Comcast was way, way, way down the full list, but at the top of a very, very small list of “cable and satellite providers” all of whom were not particularly admired). And should we really forget that Comcast regularly wins the “world’s worst company” award from Consumerist? Comcast hasn’t exactly shown its ability to be particularly innovative under the existing regime.

In fact, if history has shown anything, it’s that greater competition leads to innovation, not greater consolidation. But, remember that Comcast is actively trying to buy one of the biggest competitors in the space, Time Warner Cable. And while both companies and their supporters point out that the two companies don’t compete head on for customers, they do compete in other areas, such as in how they can buy third party services. And, of course, just think about how much more leverage a combined company would have in shaking down internet companies in the future…

At Comcast alone, we have invested tens of billions of dollars in our network and continue to invest more every year.

Yes, and that won’t change under the FCC’s regulations… unless there’s no competition. Investment follows competition.

We want our customers to continue to enjoy their favorite videos, web applications, shopping, news, and whatever may come next.

Unless, of course, those favorite videos come from Netflix, and Netflix hasn’t paid the toll taker.

Light touch Open Internet regulations should be a part of that.

Because it allowed us to shakedown Netflix, and Comcast now has its eyes on others as well…

Again, if there were a truly competitive market, perhaps this wouldn’t matter. But there isn’t, in part because of efforts by companies like Comcast to block out anything that might lead to real competition. Comcast isn’t supporting an open internet. It’s supporting whatever puts it in the best position to shakedown internet companies.

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Companies: comcast

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Comments on “Comcast Continues To Pretend To Support Net Neutrality With Misleading Claims”

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TruthHurts says:

FTC needs to make redefining words illegal...

ie – no more annotated words in advertisements..

**Unlimited Internet, starting at just 999.95 a month.

Block of text to get you excited about being ass-fucked by the service provider without lube.

Then the fine print…
**Limited to 1.21gigabytes of data per month

Things like that, for any kind of message whether advertisement, public disclosure or even just a news blip statement, should be able to fine the company for 10% of a year’s NET income per violation. (1 ad in 1 million magazines would be 1 million violations).

ie – a single lie would wipe the company fiscally – stock would need to be liquidated, corporate officers would need to liquidate their assets as they’d be fiscally responsible as well.

It would certainly get us closer to a perfect economy if that were implemented.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Isn't outright lying to the public an accepted part of marketing now?

I see it all the time.

I assume Comcast can say that only their cable service prevents end-user cancer, and without their special biopseudoscience package you will die, and that they give 100% of their profits to African hungry orphans and that non-cable subscribers are in league with ISIL.

Oh, they may have an asterisk, but often that asterisk doesn’t lead to any disclaimer on the same page.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Isn't outright lying to the public an accepted part of marketing now?

The cancer one would run them afoul of the FDA; they’d have to phrase it differently: “Unlike other services, our cable service does not contribute to cancer.”

This would avoid the “prevents” flag, and be factually correct, as I’m sure there are some services provided in this world that are carcinogenic (such as at some tanning salons).

Anonymous Coward says:

i worked someplace that was able to inject ads into the browser, and that company was fined a ton of money.

The company also said one thing, did another, and wouldn’t easily let you end your “commitment” to be their customer.

This company made a couple of pounds of money.

Since we are talking Comcast, and they are doing the exact same thing as a 2-bit marketing company – can the government step in a fine them?

Comcast makes tons of money. I can only imagine what the fine would be.

Jeremy Lyman (profile) says:

How much “innovation” has there been, or do we expect, out of the content delivery industry? Deliver my packets, maybe do it faster for cheaper. Anything else?

All the “innovation” they talk about is coupling services from content subscription, making people buy things they don’t actually want to get the delivery service they do. They’re using their monopoly infrastructure to help ensure they don’t lose any ground in the fight for media subscription. If we can’t get title II (and we should) then we should split the vertical monopoly into separate companies. Ask them which of those two options they prefer.

SandyAJ (profile) says:

What two faced fools they are

How could they support net neutrality when literally the day that the Ruling was voted down, I had sudden terrible stream quality on both hulu and netflix. even now, my ability to stream on consoles is hit or miss and even watching them on devices is spotty. nothing with the account ever changed. just everything went to hell the day they got their way.

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