Charter Spectrum Claims The Death Of Net Neutrality Will Magically Provide Better, Faster Broadband

from the nobody-believes-you dept

Large ISPs like Comcast, Charter, Verizon and AT&T this week uniformly proclaimed that the death of net neutrality is going to be a really wonderful thing for American consumers. Charter Spectrum, for example, took to the company's policy blog to insist that the neutering of historically popular consumer protections on this front will somehow result in everybody getting better broadband. The ISP's argument, as it has throughout this entire little dog and pony show, focused on the repeatedly debunked claim that the FCC's pretty modest net neutrality rules demolished telecom industry investment:

"Without the regulatory overhang of these rules however, businesses like ours will have the certainty they need to make infrastructure investments over the long-term, helping more people get online and enabling even faster broadband. This includes bringing high speed broadband to more hard to serve areas, including rural communities."

Which is something you might be inclined to actually believe if Charter's own executives weren't on record publicly stating that the rules had absolutely no meaningful impact on Charter's bottom line:

"Title II, it didn't really hurt us; it hasn't hurt us," Charter CEO Tom Rutledge said at an investor event in December 2016, according to a report by advocacy group Free Press. Publicly traded companies like Charter are required to give investors accurate financial information, including a description of risk factors involved in investing in the company."

In fact, dozens of industry CEOs have publicly admitted to investors and media outlets that the whole "net neutrality hurt broadband investment" is completely baseless, something proven by anybody willing to spend five minutes with industry SEC filings and earnings reports. And while industry-hired economists tried to cherry pick very specific windows of investment to try and claim the exact opposite, the data here is pretty clear. In fact, an analysis by consumer groups (pdf) found that Charter's overall CAPEX actually went up in the wake of the FCC's 2015 net neutrality rule creation:

"Charter’s capital investments went up 15 percent after the FCC’s Open Internet vote (when we include the pre-merger investments made by Charter, Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks). And not only are Charter’s investments up, they’re 12 percent higher than the estimates Charter gave to investors prior to closing that merger.

This being post-truth America however, facts don't appear to carry quite the same weight as they used to, and it's abundantly clear that some of the least-liked companies in America are confident in their belief that repetition forges reality. Apparently, said companies hope that if they repeat this nonsense often enough, people won't notice the government sold them, and the health of the internet, down river without a second thought (and in some instances, that's pretty clearly working).

Granted Charter then gets to the real point of the company's blog post; to push for a new net neutrality law the company knows that in this political climate, they'll be the ones writing:

""Charter’s commitment to our customers is our top priority. We urge Congress to pass new legislation that preserves an open internet and ensures a regulatory framework made for the 21st century, so we can continue to improve and invest in our networks and provide more people access to a fast, reliable, and open internet."

We've noted how ISPs are worried about losing the looming court case over net neutrality, as well as the dozens of states that are now imposing state-level net neutrality protections. As such, the hope is that they can push forth a loophole-filled net neutrality law in name only; one with so many loopholes as to effectively be useless, but which will pre-empt any tougher state or federal rules (including the restoration of the FCC's 2015 rules). It's a gambit that's not really working, in large part because these companies have obliterated any last vestiges of public trust they may have had with this latest lobbying assault.


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Jun 2018 @ 9:47am

    Well yea...

    "Charter Spectrum Claims The Death Of Net Neutrality Will Magically Provide Better, Faster Broadband"

    ... as long as you pay "extra" for it!

    But are we not already paying extra? NN did not stop that, it only made it more digestible. As long as you only fight for the crumbs, then crumbs are all you are going to get when you win!

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Jun 2018 @ 9:49am

    Charter Spectrum: "The Death Of Net Neutrality Will Magically Provide Better, Faster Broadband"*

    *Just not from us.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Jun 2018 @ 9:57am

    A rule existing for some time and then being repealed sometime later grants magical "certainty," which clearly would not happen if a rule existed and simply continued to exist.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 Jun 2018 @ 10:04am

      Re:

      It's a bit of a stretch to call that certainty "magical".

      I think NN is a total losers waste to time, but they are not wrong to think that costs are going to go up. The entire direction and positioning of the industry is clearly indicating that they are going to do just exactly as TD is predicting. There is a lot of evidence that no NN means that ISP's can take a lot more advantage of consumers and businesses crossing their pipes to deliver service!

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

  • icon
    Bamboo Harvester (profile), 15 Jun 2018 @ 10:14am

    But the real question....

    ...is there ANYONE who actually WANTS more than a dumb pipe from their ISP?

    I don't. Back in the dialup days, dumb pipe was the cheapest. Of course, they didn't make any money by selling subscriber info to advertisers either....

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

    • identicon
      Iggy, 15 Jun 2018 @ 12:06pm

      Re: But the real question....

      "...is there ANYONE who actually WANTS more than a dumb pipe from their ISP?"

      I do, actually. Ammon, Idaho has an excellent government network capable of creating virtual networks and carrying signals for a dozen competing ISPs. Its innovation in the true sense of the world, and the corporations have nothing to do with it.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Jun 2018 @ 10:20am

    A publicly visible blog managed by a corporation amounts to advertising as would any public statement made by a company. If this is advertising and the statements in it are patently false how is this not considered false advertising? And why is the FTC sitting back and letting this happen?

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

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 15 Jun 2018 @ 10:37am

    IIRC aren't these the motherfuckers who are being sued for advertising speeds they coudn't offer & violating promises for deals??

    It is a pity that the government agency supposed to over see them listens to the lies the lobbyists tells them and ignores the truth in the damn investor reports.

    We've given the industry billions to build out to reach everyone, still not even close. Lets demand repayment of what they've stolen so far and use the fund to start running common lines to everyone & create actual competition in a sector that has captured every level of government to block any challenge to their protected business model.

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 15 Jun 2018 @ 2:52pm

      Re:

      Ah but don't you see, they wanted to offer those speeds, they really did, however thanks to those dastardly regulations they simply couldn't.

      Now that they've got Pai in office cutting down regulations and rules like a slasher at a summer camp filled with nuns they can finally offer the kind of connection and customer service they've been simply desperate to provide all this time.

      (It's similar to how they absolutely adore customer privacy but were unable to respect it, despite their wishes to the contrary, thanks to the pending rules regarding it. With those rules shot down however they can give customer privacy the VIP treatment like they've always wanted to.)

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

    • icon
      Bergman (profile), 15 Jun 2018 @ 3:49pm

      Re:

      Given that we have official proclamations from on high from the FCC that previous rules harmed investment, wouldn't that be sufficient basis to get the SEC investigating those companies for investor fraud?

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

  • identicon
    David, 15 Jun 2018 @ 1:07pm

    Well, yeah.

    At least those sites reporting that the Internet got worse will not load fast enough for you to read them.

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

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 15 Jun 2018 @ 2:22pm

    Capitalists..

    Remember that word.
    Have discovered that Inflating Prices means they can INFLATE the value of their companies..
    Wonderful isnt it..
    Cable and sat pay PENNIES per person using the Cable TV services...And you goto the ABC, CBS, FOX..
    And Those companies have servers up to distribute all this access to all the cable corps..

    And they want to charge you MORE then $1 per month for DIRECT access( i use $1 because it would be a fair price) Then they HIDE some of the resources that they have to give ANOTHER special service to watch those movie and series NOT ALWAYS AVAILABLE DIRECTLY..for Another MORE then $1, per month..

    7 corps handle over 60% of the worlds broadcasting..

    What is FAIR?? What is Profit mongering?? What happens to INFLATION?? it either gets worse, cause NO ONE CARES, or it goes POP..

    If they are paying MORE then 1% to maintain ANY of these services, I will LOL until I die..
    Most of the corps, have bought out all the old companies that OWNED cable and Sat, as those services were Finished installing...and all that was needed NOW was to collect the bills.

    If you dont Regulate, and control and FORCE corps to Improve and advance...what happens?? NOTHING...they will keep taking our money, and DO LITTLE TO NOTHING...Maintain only the basics..

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Jun 2018 @ 6:21pm

    Richard Bennett thumping his chest in righteous outrage in 3, 2, 1...

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

  • identicon
    Philly Bob, 17 Jun 2018 @ 11:34am

    Only faster if you're willing to pay 2 to 3 times more for it...

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

  • identicon
    E., 17 Jun 2018 @ 8:09pm

    Liar, liar pants on fire (Comcast)

    To Comcast: Sure Jan.*

    *Yea riiight, and I just won the lottery.

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


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