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Comcast affirms support for open internet

Comcast has redeclared its commitment to an open internet in comments filed to the FCC’s ongoing proceedings on the subject.

The company posted the following accompanying statement on its website:

“We publicly and strongly supported the FCC’s 2010 Open Internet Order.  We did not seek to challenge those rules in court or otherwise.  We believe they represented the proper balance between protecting consumer interests and respecting our rights to manage our network reasonably and maintained our incentives to invest and thereby empower more and more innovation on the Internet.

“Our support of the 2010 Open Internet Order was so strong that we voluntarily agreed in our NBCUniversal transaction to be bound by those rules even if they were struck down by the courts.  As a result of the DC Circuit decision and our commitment, we are now the only ISP in the country legally bound by the entire set of Open Internet rules.

“Now that the DC Circuit has struck down the 2010 Open Internet Order, we continue to believe that the FCC should put in place legally enforceable rules to protect the openness of the Internet and we are strongly supportive of the FCC Chairman’s efforts to do so – and to do so quickly.  We believe that the DC Circuit’s decision has, for the first time, laid out a clear path and clear authority (under section 706 of the Telecommunications Act) for the FCC to adopt robust and legally enforceable Open Internet rules.”

However, Comcast went on to list the following four reasons it did no support support reclassification of broadband as a telecommunications service under Title II:

  • Title II is unnecessary, given the broad scope of authority laid out by the DC Circuit under section 706;
  • Title II poses significant legal risks thereby ensuring that any open Internet rules adopted pursuant to such a reclassification would be subject to years of additional litigation;
  • Title II has proved to be a failure in regulation that has stifled investment and innovation (think POTS; highways; and utilities); and
  • reclassification of broadband under Title II will create a huge cloud of uncertainty over the entire broadband industry, thereby retarding investment and innovation.

In addition, Comcast insisted that, when it closed its controversial merger with Time Warner Cable, it would “extend its commitment to support the Open Internet rules to millions of additional broadband customers in Time Warner markets.”

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