Comcast Whines That The Net Neutrality Debate It Keeps Rekindling Is A Lot Like 'Groundhog Day'

from the I-wish-I-could-stop-punching-myself dept

Large ISPs continue to try their best to pretend they adore net neutrality, and have nothing to do with their own perpetual efforts to crush FCC rules designed to keep the internet relatively open and competitive. Verizon recently released an utterly-comical video that blatantly lied about its role in killing the FCC's consumer protections. And companies like Comcast have penned blog post after blog post falsely claiming that the entire world somehow has it all wrong, and companies with a generation of documented anti-competitive behavior are really just misunderstood sweethearts being falsely maligned by fringe radicals.

You just know Comcast is telling the truth, since it has proudly, repeatedly declared as much in all caps and pretty colors:

:

Bullshit doesn't magically become reality with a change of font. Enter top Comcast lobbyist (the company apparently hates it when you call him that) David Cohen, who recently penned yet another blog post whining incessantly about how the fifteen-year net neutrality debate has become a lot like Groundhog Day, with the same players being forced to make the same arguments over and over again, ad infinitum:

"As the comment period comes to a close in the FCC’s latest review of Open Internet rules, consumers, ISPs, edge providers, and other stakeholders might feel like it is "Groundhog Day," with the same characters weighing in over and over on the same legal and policy issues that the FCC has considered again and again for a decade."

Ignored by Cohen is the fact we wouldn't all be stuck on this idiotic hamster wheel if Comcast and other major ISPs would simply accept the will of the public and stop trying to undermine the health of the god-damned internet. While it's at it, Comcast and its hired policy flacks could stop incessantly lying about how the relatively-basic rules were an apocalypse for industry investment. Comcast complaining about the repetitive, endless nature of the net neutrality debate is much like an arsonist whining about the high temperature in the house he or she is currently burning down.

Of course it doesn't take Cohen long to get to Comcast's real motivation for the post; the company's desire for a new, flimsier net neutrality law Cohen knows he and other industry lobbyists will be writing:

"It’s time to end this constant regulatory fluctuation and focus on protecting consumers and strengthening the American marketplace. As we’ve said before, and as both sides of the aisle have agreed, it’s time for Congress to enact bipartisan legislation that permanently establishes sensible and enforceable open Internet protections. However, until a permanent framework is in place, the FCC can and should ensure a durable backstop and maintain core open Internet protections through one or more of the options outlined in our comments and the comments of others."

We've noted repeatedly how large ISPs are pushing hard for a new net neutrality law they know either won't be passed (the debate remains notably toxic in Congress thanks to guys like Cohen) or will be so filled with lobbyist-crafted loopholes as to be entirely useless. The belief that this bickering, cash-soaked Congress is capable of passing tough consumer protections on this front is utterly laughable. In Cohen's world you're all too stupid to realize this, so Cohen proceeds glibly to again declare Comcast's unyielding dedication to "strong, legally enforceable rules":

"To be clear – as we have said time and time again – Comcast is committed to an open Internet. We support permanent, strong, legally enforceable net neutrality rules. We will continue to not block, throttle, or discriminate against lawful content, no matter what the FCC does. We stand ready to work with policymakers, legislators, and stakeholders to end this regulatory back-and-forth and craft an effective and enduring solution for consumers and the U.S. economy. Ping pong should be for players, not policy."

Clever! Except Comcast could stop this entire game of regulatory ping pong itself -- by simply putting down the paddle. The company lit a fire under the entire debate in 2008 when it repeatedly lied about throttling BitTorrent. It subsequently has abused the lack of competition via unnecessary usage caps and zero rating schemes aimed at hamstringing competitors. And it joined AT&T, Verizon and Charter in suing to overturn the FCC's 2015 rules, utterly terrified that somebody might actually stop the company from abusing its captive, historically disgusted customers.

So yeah, Comcast has a peculiar definition of "commitment" and "support" for tough net neutrality protections, since it has fought viciously against every implementation of this idea over the last fifteen years. And Cohen would like you to ignore that the simplest solution to Groundhog Day purgatory he's responsible for is right in front of his nose: leave the existing, popular rules the hell alone.


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Sep 2017 @ 7:09am

    Maybe David Cohen can jump in front of a truck to test his groundhog theory.

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

  • icon
    limbodog (profile), 7 Sep 2017 @ 7:09am

    Whoosh!

    Apparently Comcast missed the point where Phil had to learn to become an ethical and generous person before the loop stopped.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Sep 2017 @ 7:14am

    They can stop "Groundhog Day" any time they want...

    ... by just getting Net Neutrality right.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 Sep 2017 @ 3:02pm

      Re: They can stop "Groundhog Day" any time they want...

      See here is where we have a problem. We don't know with 100% certainty that they won't actually fight to make better protections and make NN law.
      We have only their past actions to look back at and those are telling us, loud and clear, that there is at least a 99.9% certainty that they will do everything in their power to screw us over.

      My point is that nobody is going to even let them have a say in getting NN right, because there is no way we can ever trust them to actually do so.

      If we believed in politicians and the ISP's could be trusted, then we wouldn't have this weak Title II deal but instead would let them make a more permanent and stronger solution.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Sep 2017 @ 7:41am

    OK, Karl, if you're going to play the semantics game, you'd better play it right. You know very well it's not their definitions of "commitment" and "support" with which you have a problem. It's their definition of "tough net neutrality protections" that's so far from reality.

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

    • identicon
      Wyrm, 8 Sep 2017 @ 4:34am

      Response to: Anonymous Coward on Sep 7th, 2017 @ 7:41am

      It's pretty clear though. It's not a matter of definition, it's a matter of reading things right.
      By "tough net neutrality protections", we hear "protections of net neutrality" while they mean "protections from net neutrality". :)

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

  • icon
    Toom1275 (profile), 7 Sep 2017 @ 7:44am

    The definition of insanity is making the same bullshit anti-NN (but I repeat myself) arguments time after time and expecting the result to be different this time.

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

  • icon
    Advocate (profile), 7 Sep 2017 @ 8:56am

    Why is the granddaddy of all "worst company in america" alumni allowed to be heard in government at all?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 Sep 2017 @ 2:28pm

      Re:

      There's no reason they can't be heard--they might raise points the authors of a law hadn't considered (other than "we gave you money"). But ultimately the law is up to the people to decide. And Net Neutrality isn't enough; it's time to break up infrastructure and retail service, like OpenReach in the UK.

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

  • icon
    Advocate (profile), 7 Sep 2017 @ 8:56am

    Why is the godfather of all "worst company in america" alumni allowed to be heard in government at all?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Sep 2017 @ 8:58am

    ...and like groundhog day, we are going to keep coming back to this until they get it RIGHT.

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

    • icon
      TheResidentSkeptic (profile), 7 Sep 2017 @ 9:14am

      Re:

      This group will NEVER get it "Right". There is way too much money to be made through the current (and desired) way of screwing the customers out of every cent possible. And as long as that continues, then the bought-and-well-paid-for legislators will do as they are told and pass the submitted laws as written by the companies.

      Unfortunately, this group may run it so far into the ground that the US gets to last place in network performance and first place in network costs.

      It will take several generations to fix it to where it will even approach "right".

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Sep 2017 @ 9:19am

    I find some statements very ironic

    *"Strengthening the American marketplace"*
    If the American marketplace only consists of ISP's, then yes, they will be strengthened.... however literally every other business out there is going to lose in some way, so the marketplace i weakened. This is not even considering the startups and the public.

    *"We will continue to not block, throttle, or discriminate against lawful content, no matter what the FCC does."*
    Considering how much time and effort they put into complaining about NN, this statement is quite funny... I hardly believe they would be so vocal if NN wasn't affecting their plans for the future. This is not even considering all the clear evidence of them blocking, throttling and discriminating against lawful content in the past.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 Sep 2017 @ 10:02am

      Re: I find some statements very ironic

      It is just a case of you having to proove that you are not doing something illegal in the future. Since you can't do that the assumption of you doing something illegal will stand and they can block, throttle or discriminate to their hearts desire!

      All sir Cohen is saying is true under that assumption!

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

  • icon
    Jeremy2020 (profile), 7 Sep 2017 @ 11:26am

    Why does "COMCAST VOICES | A PLACE FOR CONVERSATIONS WITH COMCAST" not have a place for someone to leave a comment about comcast's article?

    It's not really a conversation if just one person is talking.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 Sep 2017 @ 1:51pm

      Re:

      Now there is one web site moderators would be overwhelmed by swearing and rants about their customer service. if they ever allowed comments.

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

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Sep 2017 @ 11:34am

    OMG! ANOTHER SIX YEAR GAP ZOMBIE!

    Yet VERY active today!

    Advocate (changed to Keisar Betancourt and back!) 5 Sep 2013 from 18 Aug 2007

    https://www.techdirt.com/comments.php?start=60&u=advocate

    FOUR NOW! And I'M the crazy one, eh?

    dickeyrat: 3 comments TOTAL in TEN years! Aug 17th, 2017, Jun 23rd, 2011, and Jul 10th, 2010!!!
    https://www.techdirt.com/user/dickeyrat

    https://www.techdirt.com/user/andrewlduane On May 1st, 2017

    https://www.techdirt.com/user/slowgreenturtle Dec 15th, 2016

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 7 Sep 2017 @ 4:29pm

      Is that one of those 'rhetorical questions'?

      And I'M the crazy one, eh?

      Let's see...

      One person(or even four), that doesn't comment regularly and only pops in to leave a comment rarely...

      vs

      Someone who obsessively checks accounts and comments(to the tune of hundreds if you are who I think you are) looking for evidence of some conspiracy or other form of shenanigans...

      Think you answered your own question there.

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

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        icon
        MyNameHere (profile), 7 Sep 2017 @ 9:05pm

        Re: Is that one of those 'rhetorical questions'?

        I think as much as you consider him a troll, it does seem a little odd.

        Accounts that have been essentially dormant for upwards to a decade Suddenly all show up and start posting pithy one liners? Seems more than a little odd.

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

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 Sep 2017 @ 9:00pm

      Re: OMG! ANOTHER SIX YEAR GAP ZOMBIE!

      out_of_the_blue just can't stand it when due process is enforced.

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

  • icon
    sciamiko (profile), 8 Sep 2017 @ 1:34am

    Cohen's very clear about it

    In Cohen's own words:

    It’s time to end this constant regulatory fluctuation and focus on protecting consumers and strengthening the American marketplace.

    Let's parse this according to normal rules, and expand those "and"s:

    It’s time to end this constant regulatory fluctuation and [time to end this] focus on protecting consumers and [time to end this] strengthening the American marketplace.

    Obvious.

    s.

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


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