You may have noticed that the conversation about net neutrality has reached a fever pitch. That’s because Federal Communications Commission Chairman, Ajit Pai, is on a mission to destroy existing rules governing the internet. On December 14, the FCC is scheduled to vote to rescind existing net neutrality rules. If the FCC’s plan goes through, companies like Comcast and Verizon can create internet “fast lanes” whereby some websites can pay to have quicker access to consumers. Smaller companies, start-ups, local museums and non-profits, among others, will be relegated to the “slow lane.”
Comcast, of course, has responded with a statement that sounds like they support net neutrality. “We do not and will not block, throttle, or discriminate against lawful content. We will continue to make sure that our policies are clear and transparent for consumers, and we will not change our commitment to these principles,” stated an official Comcast tweet. However, Comcast has not directly stated that it won’t manipulate internet access to benefit companies that can pay higher fees. So while Comcast may not deliberately slow access to the internet, it can provide companies who are willing to pay with faster access.
Just this year, Comcast wrote a blog in which it praised the efforts of the FCC and stated, somewhat cryptically, that they support adoption of net neutrality principles that include “no anti-competitive paid prioritization.” Comcast’s intentions are unclear as the word “anti-competitive” is fairly vague in this context. In other words, could Comcast still offer fast lane service at the same price for all? That remains to be seen. Other unethical behavior has kept Comcast in the news for years, not to mention their meteoric rise to number one the list of most hated companies in America.
We hope that Comcast is sincere in its support of net neutrality and the well-being of consumers, but based on the company’s vague statements and its unethical past behavior, the Sharks are not quitting their day jobs. We’re going to continue to fight for consumers’ rights.