Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing: Comcast Kisses-Up To Obama, Agrees With His Stance On Net Neutrality

Comcast is one of two companies to have earned Consumerist's "Worst Company in America" title on more than one occasion (once in 2010 and again this year, 2014), and it looks like the company is lobbying for a third title. That is, unless there's another explanation as to how the cable giant can claim (seemingly with straight face) that it's in agreement with President Barack Obama for a free and open Internet.

In case you missed it, Obama issued an open letter to the FCC urging it to enact strong net neutrality rules and to reclassify Internet service as a utility, all in support of a free and open Internet. He made clear that he's against things like paid fast lanes and throttling speeds, and in response, Comcast issued a statement of its own saying it backs the exact same things, it just doesn't want to go the utility route.

"A clear consensus has emerged for the FCC to adopt new rules that will strengthen the open Internet and ensure that the Internet remains a vital engine for innovation, economic growth, and free expression. And while some have been led to believe something else, we support net neutrality," Comcast stated in a blog post.

Comcast Van

Comcast went on to list specific bullet points that it's supposedly in wholehearted agreement with, such as:
  • Free and open Internet. We agree - and that is our practice.
  • No blocking. We agree - and that is our practice.
  • No throttling. We agree - and that is our practice.
  • Increased transparency. We agree - and that is our practice.
  • No paid prioritization. We agree - and that is our practice.
Really? REALLY? Comcast conveniently fails to address the giant elephant in the room whose name is Netflix. Earlier this year, Netflix begrudgingly inked a multi-year deal with Comcast in which the streaming service agreed to pay a toll to ensure faster delivery into the homes of Comcast subscribers, who prior to the deal had been complaining of frequent buffering and video degradation when watching content on Netflix.

Comcast would undoubtedly argue that it's not a paid fast lane, but it's hard to see the deal as anything other than that. And certainly Netflix views it as one. Nevertheless, Comcast remains firm that supports net neutrality, just not reclassifying broadband as a telecommunications service under Title II, which it claims would harm future innovation and investment in broadband.

"We continue to believe that Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act provides more than ample authority to impose [net neutrality] rules," Comcast added.

Sure, except the FCC already tried that approach, only to have the U.S. Court of Appeals overturn the rules it tried to put in place. Why? Because the FCC has classified broadband providers "in a manner that exempts them from treatment as common carriers."