Comcast Corporation Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer David L. Cohen has now officially released a statement lauding the FCC's decision to end Title II regulations. The rules, which the FCC voted 3-to-2 to eliminate today and which are often referred to as net neutrality rules, effectively prevented any internet service provider (ISP) from enacting pay-to-play policies on subscribers or providers of other Internet-based services. Cohen's statement commends Trump-appointed FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, as well as FCC Commissioners Michael O'Reilly and Brendan Carr for supporting the Restoring Internet Freedom Order. Mirroring Pai's remarks from earlier today, Cohen goes on to refer to the previously enacted Title II regulations as burdensome to Internet investment and innovation, saying that the light regulatory approach will ultimately benefit consumers.
Meanwhile, the company's website maintains that Comcast is committed to an open Internet and net neutrality. Specifically, the company has listed three statements on the matter, intended to alleviate concerns held by net neutrality's proponents, insisting that the company and others will return to what they claim is anti-competitive behavior. Predominantly, net neutrality proponents are concerned that ISPs will give preferential treatment to some content - primarily content owned or sponsored by a given ISP - while slowing down or blocking access to competing services. The first of Comcast's statements are in direct opposition to that concern, stating that Comcast does not take part in those specific behaviors or practices. Beyond that, Comcast claims that it is in support of regulations in that benefit customers with an open internet as long as those are sustainable and legally enforceable. That's followed by a commitment from the company to enabling and maintaining transparency of its policies with consumers.
While it isn't immediately clear, why Comcast would support the concepts represented by net neutrality but not the regulations, Cohen's statements may be somewhat premature. That's because there has been a lot of pressure placed on lawmakers in Congress to step in and institute net neutrality rules as law. Moreover, technology companies that are opposed to ending the regulation - primarily those that require Internet access in order to serve their customers - may still be able to challenge any changes in company policies resulting from the vote. In effect, opposing companies could make it difficult for Comcast to enact policies previously prevented by net neutrality rules if those policies are found to anti-competitive. As of this writing, the practical implications of the FCC's vote on net neutrality are still very much up in the air.