Comcast Today: Watch John Oliver Explain Net Neutrality

(And why Comcast, despite its protests, is bad at it.)

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We sometimes wonder how to explain net neutrality issues to you, since it defies a simple English explanation. Well, we’re going to outsource the job to comedian John Oliver. Take 13 minutes, won’t you?:


CNET reports:

Last night, however, he turned his anger -- 13 whole minutes of it -- onto something that not everyone quite grasps: Net neutrality. Oliver worries that if there's a two-tier, two-speed Internet, then his new startup, Nutflix (you'll never guess what this entails), won't be able to compete.

He also described Comcast's negotiations with Netflix as a shakedown.

As for the cable companies: "It's almost as if they've agreed to stay out of each other's way like drug cartels." He added: "Maybe it's because of their lack of competition that they get away with such shitty service."

There are 120 days remaining for real people to have their say.

Under the terms of its merger with NBCUniversal, Comcast is supposed to be a strict adherent to net neutrality standards. There's some question, though, whether the company is down with the spirit of net neutrality. Vox further explains Comcast’s role in all of this:

Netflix has accused Comcast of deliberately provoking the crisis by refusing to upgrade its network to accommodate Netflix traffic, leaving Netflix with little choice but to pay a "toll." That might sound like a classic network neutrality violation. But surprisingly, leading network neutrality proposals wouldn't affect this kind of agreement at all.

That's because Comcast wasn't technically offering Netflix a "fast lane" on an existing connection. Instead, Netflix paid Comcast to accept a whole new connection. The terms of these agreements, known as "peering," have always been negotiated in an unregulated market, and network neutrality regulations don't apply to them.

In theory, Netflix's deal with Comcast doesn't violate network neutrality because everyone on this new pipe (e.g. only Netflix) is treated the same, just as everyone on the old, overloaded pipe gets equal treatment. But it's hard to see any practical difference between the kind of "fast lane" agreement network neutrality supporters have campaigned against and Netflix paying Comcast for a faster connection.

Understand?

Other Comcastic headlines:

Shares of Comcast have been given a consensus recommendation of “Buy” by the twenty-two analysts that are covering the company, Analyst RN reports. Three analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, fourteen have given a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the company. The average 1-year target price among brokers that have covered the stock in the last year is $59.50.Shares of Comcast opened at 52.56 on Monday. Comcast has a 1-year low of $38.75 and a 1-year high of $55.28. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $51.03 and its 200-day moving average is $51.06. The company has a market cap of $136.6 billion and a P/E ratio of 19.12. (WKRB)

NBCUniversal and its owner Comcast are teaming up for a “hackathon” — where computer programmers and others will work intensively on software projects — that will hopefully bring some innovative ideas to the media table. The overnight hackathon, slated to take place June 21-22 at the new NBCUniversal Technology Center’s Media Labs and at 30 Rock’s Studio 8H, will gather talented developers and allow them to use products and technology from NBCUniversal’s and Comcast’s cross-platform portfolios, including CNBC, NBCNews.com, Universal Pictures, TV Everywhere, Telemundo and more. APIs (Application Program Interfaces), which will give participants access to data and distribution platforms, such as Comcast’s Xfinity X1entertainment operating system, will be on hand for developers to get creative with. (Philadelphia Business Journal)

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