Comcast® Might Offer Paid Fast Lanes after Repeal of Net Neutrality

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Comcast®, one of the best internet providers of the country, has been promising for years that they will not violate net neutrality principles, regardless of whether the federal government imposing any rules on net neutrality. This means that the service provider will not throttle or block internet traffic and that they will not make fast lanes to collect extra charges and tolls from website businesses who wish to have priority access on the Comcast® network.

This promise from Comcast® was one of the many ways in which they strongly argued that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) should not reclassify broadband internet service providers as common carriers, a designation forcing the internet providers to treat customers fairly. Comcast® and many other internet providers claimed that the Title II common carrier classification, which makes the net neutrality rules enforceable, is not necessary, as the service providers will not violate the principles of net neutrality.

However, with the Republican led FCC, Comcast® seems to have changed their stance. The Telco still says that they would not throttle or block internet content; however, they have dropped their promise about not offering paid prioritization. Now, Comcast® vaguely says that they will not impose “anti-competitive paid prioritization” or “discriminate against lawful content.”

The change in wording by Comcast® suggests that they might offer paid fast lanes to sites and other services like video streaming after FCC eliminating the net neutrality rules. Without any FCC rules against providing paid fast lanes, it would be up to Comcast® and other ISPs to decide if offering any prioritization deal is “anti-competitive.”

Comcast® publicly posted, “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.”

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With more than 23.5 million residential internet users, Comcast® is the largest home internet service provider in the country. Back in May 2014, the then Senior Executive Vice President, David Cohen wrote, “To be clear, Comcast has never offered paid prioritization, we are not offering it today, and we’re not considering entering into any paid prioritization creating fast lane deals with content owners.”

After six months, they made the promise again and said, “We don’t prioritize Internet traffic or have paid fast lanes, and have no plans to do so.” Comcast® also added that they agreed with the then President Obama’s stance on “no paid prioritization.”

The change in strategy of Comcast® was evident in July 2017 when they urged FCC to get rid of the Title II order. “We do not and will not block, slow down, or discriminate against lawful content,” Comcast® said omitting their promise to keep away paid prioritization. The Telco further said that the FCC could overturn the Title II classification while still having “clearly defined net neutrality principles—no blocking, no throttling, no anti-competitive paid prioritization, and full transparency.”

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