[Update 12:20 p.m.] Comcast has issued a response to the president’s announcement, from Executive Vice President David Cohen:
“Comcast fully embraces the open Internet principles that the President and the Chairman of the FCC have espoused — transparency, no blocking, non-discrimination rules, and no “fast lanes”, which is the way we operate our network today. We continue to believe, however, that section 706 provides more than ample authority to impose those rules, as the DC Circuit made clear.”
Comcast and cable companies (along with the telcos) have led the broadband revolution, being the first to roll out America’s fastest broadband speeds across the country. As the White House itself acknowledged in its broadband report in 2013, this only happened because we were not subject to the intrusive regulatory regime designed for a different era.
To attempt to impose a full-blown Title II regime now, when the classification of cable broadband has always been as an information service, would reverse nearly a decade of precedent, including findings by the Supreme Court that this classification was proper. This would be a radical reversal that would harm investment and innovation, as today’s immediate stock market reaction demonstrates. And such a radical reversal of consistent contrary precedent should be taken up by the Congress.
The internet has not just appeared by accident or gift — it has been built by companies like ours investing and building networks and infrastructure. The policy the White House is encouraging would jeopardize this engine for job creation and investment as well as the innovation cycle that the Internet has generated.”
[Original 10:30 a.m.] Here’s some federal news with big local implications: President Obama today urged the Federal Communications Commission to classify Internet service as a utility — a move that would give the agency power to enforce “net neutrality” principles.
Philly-based Comcast has long said it supports an “open Internet,” but has opposed the FCC’s move to reclassify broadband service as Obama proposes — saying utility-style rules for Internet service might stifle innovation. (Read the President’s full statement here.)
Obama doesn’t have the final word. The FCC, led by Chairman Tom Wheeler, is expected to make its final decision on the matter next year. Still: We wonder if Comcast’s David Cohen will be hosting any more fund-raising dinners for the president.
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