Comcast Admits Net Neutrality Rules Had No Real Impact On The Company

from the chilling-effect-of-bullshit dept

Back when AT&T, Verizon and Comcast were fighting tooth and nail against the FCC’s net neutrality rules, you’ll recall that most of them made all manner of breathless, hyperbolic claims about how net neutrality would demolish sector investment, rip the planet off its axis, and disrupt the time-space continuum. For example in 2014 Comcast was quick to try and claim that the passage of such consumer protections would hurt jobs, stifle investment, and otherwise forge a calamitous, unlivable hellscape:

“The sheer uncertainty surrounding such a regulatory environment would produce ?a profoundly negative impact on capital investment.? By itself, reduced investment would inhibit job creation, hinder the deployment of broadband infrastructure, and undermine the ?virtuous circle? of innovation that the open Internet rules are designed to advance.”

Of course, none of that actually happened. And while the industry did try to pay some industry-allied think tankers to fudge the numbers and make it look as if an investment apocalypse occurred, the actual numbers never actually supported that. While not always the case in less competitive areas, overall sector investment has been as healthy as ever, especially as wireless providers fixate on deploying fifth generation (5G) wireless services.

Speaking at an investor conference last week, Comcast CFO Mike Cavanaugh basically acknowledged that the company overstated the perils of the country’s relatively basic net neutrality protections (and the reclassification of ISPs as common carriers under Title II), admitting the impact of net neutrality on Comcast’s actual business one way or the other was negligible:

“If you saw Title II go away or the reclassification undone,? the analyst asked, ?would that be a meaningful change or meaningful benefit for Comcast?”

Cavanaugh?s answer? Basically, it doesn?t matter.

?I think in terms of what actually happens,? Cavanaugh said, ?it?s the fear of what Title II could have meant, more than what it actually did mean.?

Except the “fear of what Title II could have meant” was driven largely by baseless hysteria concocted by Comcast itself. And immediately after effectively admitting that there’s nothing to fear but fear itself, Cavanaugh tried to suggest that the faintest specter of a telecom regulator actually doing its job had a “chilling effect” all the same (citation needed). He also tried to claim that Comcast really, truly loves net neutrality despite making up complete bullshit repeatedly in an attempt to scuttle it:

“As you know, we very much believe in the principles behind what [the] policy was trying to get at,? he continued, ?but the overhang of where it could go in the future was something that I think had a chilling effect. Hopefully that chilling effect is gone; both from how investors look at the space and businesses look at the space.”

Cavanaugh’s enthusiasm about the lifting of this nonexistent “chilling effect” is obvious: the incoming Trump administration is making it abundantly clear it intends to not only gut net neutrality, but defund and defang the FCC itself. Comcast’s actually facing less broadband competition than ever before as telcos give up on residential broadband to focus on content and advertising. Combine that with the looming, actual “chilling effect” of a rubber stamp toothless regulator in charge of a broken market, and it’s clear that consumers, startups and innovators have plenty to worry about, even if Comcast doesn’t.

Filed Under: , , ,
Companies: comcast

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Comcast Admits Net Neutrality Rules Had No Real Impact On The Company”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Anonymous Coward says:

Comcast’s actually facing less broadband competition than ever before as telcos give up on residential broadband to focus on content and advertising.

One question, if the Telcos give up broadband, how will they deliver their content? Are they thinking that they can get Comcast and the other cable companies to pay them for more content to be delivered over cable?

Anonymous Coward says:

I don't get it...

“Combine that with the looming, actual “chilling effect” of a rubber stamp toothless regulator in charge of a broken market, and it’s clear that consumers, startups and innovators have plenty to worry about, even if Comcast doesn’t.”

The toothless FCC has been gumming this shit for years…
The very concerns being brought up have already been going on for years and I bet would not have changed even if the new rules were put into place.

At least this way… a few government dollars can be saved to go into a pork project!

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...
Older Stuff
04:48 Dumb Telecom Take Of The Week: Because The Internet Didn't Explode, Killing Net Neutrality Must Not Have Mattered (23)
09:37 British Telecom Wants Netflix To Pay A Tax Simply Because Squid Game Is Popular (32)
04:55 Axios Parrots A Lot Of Dumb, Debunked Nonsense About Net Neutrality (54)
10:50 NY AG Proves Broadband Industry Funded Phony Public Support For Attack On Net Neutrality (10)
06:24 The GOP Is Using Veterans As Props To Demonize Net Neutrality (22)
06:03 Telecom Using Veterans As Props To Demonize California's New Net Neutrality Law (12)
09:32 AT&T Whines That California Net Neutrality Rules Are Forcing It To Behave (11)
06:23 The New York Times (Falsely) Informs Its 7 Million Readers Net Neutrality Is 'Pointless' (51)
15:34 Facebook's Australian News Ban Did Demonstrate The Evil Of Zero Rating (18)
04:58 'Net Neutrality Hurt Internet Infrastructure Investment' Is The Bad Faith Lie That Simply Won't Die (11)
05:48 Dumb New GOP Talking Point: If You Restore Net Neutrality, You HAVE To Kill Section 230. Just Because! (66)
06:31 DOJ Drops Ridiculous Trump-Era Lawsuit Against California For Passing Net Neutrality Rules (13)
06:27 The Wall Street Journal Kisses Big Telecom's Ass In Whiny Screed About 'Big Tech' (13)
10:45 New Interim FCC Boss Jessica Rosenworcel Will Likely Restore Net Neutrality, Just Not Yet (5)
15:30 Small Idaho ISP 'Punishes' Twitter And Facebook's 'Censorship' ... By Blocking Access To Them Entirely (81)
05:29 A Few Reminders Before The Tired Net Neutrality Debate Is Rekindled (13)
06:22 U.S. Broadband Speeds Jumped 90% in 2020. But No, It Had Nothing To Do With Killing Net Neutrality. (12)
12:10 FCC Ignores The Courts, Finalizes Facts-Optional Repeal Of Net Neutrality (19)
10:46 It's Opposite Day At The FCC: Rejects All Its Own Legal Arguments Against Net Neutrality To Claim It Can Be The Internet Speech Police (13)
12:05 Blatant Hypocrite Ajit Pai Decides To Move Forward With Bogus, Unconstitutional Rulemaking On Section 230 (178)
06:49 FCC's Pai Puts Final Bullet In Net Neutrality Ahead Of Potential Demotion (25)
06:31 The EU Makes It Clear That 'Zero Rating' Violates Net Neutrality (6)
06:22 DOJ Continues Its Quest To Kill Net Neutrality (And Consumer Protection In General) In California (11)
11:08 Hypocritical AT&T Makes A Mockery Of Itself; Says 230 Should Be Reformed For Real Net Neutrality (28)
06:20 Trump, Big Telecom Continue Quest To Ban States From Protecting Broadband Consumers (19)
06:11 Senators Wyden And Markey Make It Clear AT&T Is Violating Net Neutrality (13)
06:31 Net Neutrali-what? AT&T's New Streaming Service Won't Count Against Its Broadband Caps. But Netflix Will. (25)
06:23 Telecom's Latest Dumb Claim: The Internet Only Works During A Pandemic Because We Killed Net Neutrality (49)
13:36 Ex-FCC Staffer Says FCC Authority Given Up In Net Neutrality Repeal Sure Would Prove Handy In A Crisis (13)
06:27 Clarence Thomas Regrets Brand X Decision That Paved Way For The Net Neutrality Wars (11)
More arrow