Comcast Ramps Up Ad Campaign Claiming To Support Net Neutrality, Even As It Really Supports Killing It

from the truth-in-advertising... dept

We just wrote about how the FCC is now claiming that it will enforce its "transparency" rules that require some sort of truth in advertising. If that's the case, it might want to take a close look at Comcast's recent "truthy" advertising campaign, which it's running online, in newspapers and on TV, claiming that it's a huge supporter of "net neutrality." In fact, in a recent video ad, Comcast flat out claims that it wants to "extend net neutrality protection."
Here's a newspaper ad from the Washington Post making the same dubious claim:
And it's running web ads that make the same claims. Here are some screenshots a reader sent me of parts of a Comcast ad he spotted on Daily Caller:




Comcast defends this position by claiming, first, that it's bound by the original 2010 FCC open internet rules, as part of the conditions of its big merger with NBC Universal. That part is true. Just about everything else is misleading or bogus. First, the FCC's 2010 open internet rules were always a weak sauce. They barely allowed the FCC to do anything and there were tons of loopholes. Being bound by those rules was never really being bound by any true sense of net neutrality.

Also, as Brian Fung at the Washington Post points out, the merger conditions only last a few more years. And then Comcast is free to do whatever it wants within the "new" rules:
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."

That's not the same as laying out what'll happen in 2018, however...
And, of course, the FCC won't do anything about this, and Comcast can continue to claim it as true, mainly because the FCC is pretending that it's currently proposed rules, under Section 706 are about preserving net neutrality. That's why Comcast is among those whose filings with the FCC were about how great the FCC plan is. Because it allows them (and AT&T) to pretend that they're "supporters" of net neutrality when the truth of the matter is that the plan would fling the doors wide open on the end of a neutral end-to-end internet.

The problem, in part, is that there's been so much "noise" about what is and what is not net neutrality, that Comcast has embraced this incredibly cynical (and really misleading) plan to claim to be for full net neutrality -- even extending net neutrality -- when the reality is that it's actually supporting the FCC's current plans under Section 706, which have a loophole you can drive a cable truck through to end net neutrality, with the term "commercially reasonable." And, of course, since your everyday person-on-the-street doesn't know the details and the differences between Title II and Section 706, they might actually believe that Comcast has their back -- when it's really stabbing them in the back.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    icon
    Violynne (profile), Jul 25th, 2014 @ 5:04am

    Little girl in the ad: "Daddy! I can't watch Adventure Time. The video is just sitting and doing nothing!"

    Little boy in the ad: "Yeah, dad. It's not working."

    Dad in the ad: "Relax, kids. Let me show you what you need to do. See this icon? It's our VPN. You need to click this first before you watch videos online."

    Kids in the ad: "Thanks, dad!"

    Comcast: "We'll protect net neutrality by promising you access to the site, after we bilk them for millions so you can actually access it. It's not like you have a choice in the matter."

    FCC: "Well, our hands are tied, but we'll huff and puff and pretend we can actually do something about this issue plaguing Americans for decades."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 25th, 2014 @ 5:48am

    Still don't know what to think...

    The FCC is responsible for the current monopoly market that is generated.

    Not sure any rules they come up with will have any meaningful association with actual neutrality on the internet.

    What are we hoping to achieve? The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and hoping for different results.

    We should instead, be petitioning or mobbing the government to break up the damn telco monopolies and tell the businesses to do whatever they want with their networks so that the damn market can decide! You will find that shit can be put right when you make real competition a factor again!

    We are all lost as hell... "Fighting for scraps from someone's corrupt table"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Spaceman Spiff (profile), Jul 25th, 2014 @ 7:08am

    Anything that Comcast says and $5 will get you a nice latte at Starbucks

    Anyone who believes anything that Comcrap says should invest in futures for a really nice bridge I "own" between Manhattan and New Jersey. It is a classic of the suspension form...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Michael, Jul 25th, 2014 @ 7:41am

      Re: Anything that Comcast says and $5 will get you a nice latte at Starbucks

      Anything that Comcast says and $5 will get you a nice latte at Starbucks

      Perhaps a small black coffee, but I think that would only be a down payment on a latte.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jul 25th, 2014 @ 8:45am

      Re: Anything that Comcast says and $5 will get you a nice latte at Starbucks

      More like a bridge between Dallas and New York.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Designerfx (profile), Jul 25th, 2014 @ 7:26am

    even more basic - note the wording

    Note the very specific wording : "we are bound by net neutrality". Not "We follow/will follow net neutrality". It's even more explicit that they will not follow it unless they have to, dragged kicking and screaming.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    art guerrilla (profile), Jul 25th, 2014 @ 7:45am

    i can't find out who is responsible for this mess...

    when i *tried* to see about alternatives to our present shitty ISP (is that a redundant oxymoron?), i kept on running up against -what i *thought* was anathema to a so-called free-market capitalistic system- 'non-compete agreements', such that we HAD NO CHOICE...
    literally, EVERY *theoretical* alternative ISP i called up to see about service, routed my phone call BACK TO MY PRESENT ISP when i input my zip code...
    EVERY DAMN ONE OF THEM...
    I HAVE NO CHOICE, and i can't even find out WHO the responsible parties are for WHY i have no choice...
    county says its the state, state says its the county...
    and NONE of them are interested in hearing about it, period...
    so pissed off, am thinking about becoming a distributor for a satellite-based system which goes to a peering, point-to-point antenna system... if i had the money to burn, i would... (i'd rather burn the ISPs, though, fuckers)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      fgoodwin (profile), Jul 25th, 2014 @ 10:30am

      Re: i can't find out who is responsible for this mess...

      Have you actually SEEN an ISP "non-compete" agreement? If you have, then I challenge you to produce it. Otherwise, I'm not so sure Comcast is the one "lying" here.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Jul 25th, 2014 @ 8:30pm

        Re: Re: i can't find out who is responsible for this mess...

        Since when did the copyright shills let facts get in the way of making their point? When in Rome, do as the Romans.

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        •  
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Jul 25th, 2014 @ 8:36pm

          Clarification:

          It's true that Art Guerrilla doesn't link to any real proof, but then again, neither do the people he usually rails against.

           

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 25th, 2014 @ 9:54am

    Comcast video streaming doesn't count against data usage caps, I believe. They're already anti-net neutral. Comcast is seeing large declines in TV cable subscriptions. Yet nobody seems to be dropping broadband internet service.

    Now people are paying $10 a month for Netflix. Much cheaper than $60 month for Comcast cable. Plus there's some new punk on the block who kinda looks like a duck, offering live streaming internet TV names Aereo.

    This current net neutrality debate boils down to last-mile residential ISPs not wanting to give up control as the gatekeepers of live stream TV access and On-demand movie rentals.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), Jul 25th, 2014 @ 11:26am

    When you need to keep repeating you are the good guy it generally means you are not that good...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Jay Lahto (profile), Jul 25th, 2014 @ 11:47am

    Corp Crush

    Oh oh.

    Looks like, even though Comcast owns NBC, that they might have a secret crush on Fox news. Can't wait until they both show up at a party wearing the same dress.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Jon Jones (profile), Jul 25th, 2014 @ 12:43pm

    Good job the youtube video is only 15 seconds long, Comcast customers may have struggled if it was any longer.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
Advertisement
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Chat
Techdirt Reading List
Advertisement
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Support Techdirt - Get Great Stuff!

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.