Large ISPs continue to try their best to pretend they adore net neutrality, and have nothing to do with their own perpetual efforts to crush FCC rules designed to keep the internet relatively open and competitive. Verizon recently released an utterly-comical video that blatantly lied about its role in killing the FCC's consumer protections. And companies like Comcast have penned blog post after blog post falsely claiming that the entire world somehow has it all wrong, and companies with a generation of documented anti-competitive behavior are really just misunderstood sweethearts being falsely maligned by fringe radicals.
You just know Comcast is telling the truth, since it has proudly, repeatedly declared as much in all caps and pretty colors:
Bullshit doesn't magically become reality with a change of font. Enter top Comcast lobbyist (the company apparently hates it when you call him that) David Cohen, who recently penned yet another blog post whining incessantly about how the fifteen-year net neutrality debate has become a lot like Groundhog Day, with the same players being forced to make the same arguments over and over again, ad infinitum:
"As the comment period comes to a close in the FCC’s latest review of Open Internet rules, consumers, ISPs, edge providers, and other stakeholders might feel like it is "Groundhog Day," with the same characters weighing in over and over on the same legal and policy issues that the FCC has considered again and again for a decade."
Ignored by Cohen is the fact we wouldn't all be stuck on this idiotic hamster wheel if Comcast and other major ISPs would simply accept the will of the public and stop trying to undermine the health of the god-damned internet. While it's at it, Comcast and its hired policy flacks could stop incessantly lying about how the relatively-basic rules were an apocalypse for industry investment. Comcast complaining about the repetitive, endless nature of the net neutrality debate is much like an arsonist whining about the high temperature in the house he or she is currently burning down.
Of course it doesn't take Cohen long to get to Comcast's real motivation for the post; the company's desire for a new, flimsier net neutrality law Cohen knows he and other industry lobbyists will be writing:
"It’s time to end this constant regulatory fluctuation and focus on protecting consumers and strengthening the American marketplace. As we’ve said before, and as both sides of the aisle have agreed, it’s time for Congress to enact bipartisan legislation that permanently establishes sensible and enforceable open Internet protections. However, until a permanent framework is in place, the FCC can and should ensure a durable backstop and maintain core open Internet protections through one or more of the options outlined in our comments and the comments of others."
We've noted repeatedly how large ISPs are pushing hard for a new net neutrality law they know either won't be passed (the debate remains notably toxic in Congress thanks to guys like Cohen) or will be so filled with lobbyist-crafted loopholes as to be entirely useless. The belief that this bickering, cash-soaked Congress is capable of passing tough consumer protections on this front is utterly laughable. In Cohen's world you're all too stupid to realize this, so Cohen proceeds glibly to again declare Comcast's unyielding dedication to "strong, legally enforceable rules":
"To be clear – as we have said time and time again – Comcast is committed to an open Internet. We support permanent, strong, legally enforceable net neutrality rules. We will continue to not block, throttle, or discriminate against lawful content, no matter what the FCC does. We stand ready to work with policymakers, legislators, and stakeholders to end this regulatory back-and-forth and craft an effective and enduring solution for consumers and the U.S. economy. Ping pong should be for players, not policy."
Clever! Except Comcast could stop this entire game of regulatory ping pong itself -- by simply putting down the paddle. The company lit a fire under the entire debate in 2008 when it repeatedly lied about throttling BitTorrent. It subsequently has abused the lack of competition via unnecessary usage caps and zero rating schemes aimed at hamstringing competitors. And it joined AT&T, Verizon and Charter in suing to overturn the FCC's 2015 rules, utterly terrified that somebody might actually stop the company from abusing its captive, historically disgusted customers.
So yeah, Comcast has a peculiar definition of "commitment" and "support" for tough net neutrality protections, since it has fought viciously against every implementation of this idea over the last fifteen years. And Cohen would like you to ignore that the simplest solution to Groundhog Day purgatory he's responsible for is right in front of his nose: leave the existing, popular rules the hell alone.