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Comcast CEO Roberts Seeks More ‘Permanent’ Footing for Net Neutrality Laws

Comcast CEO Brian Roberts
(Image credit: Comcast)

Perhaps no chief executive lobbied harder than Comcast’s Brian Roberts for the FCC’s 2017 rollback of net neutrality rules under Trump-appointed FCC chief Ajit Pai.

Now that Biden appointee Jessica Rosenworcel is running the agency, and another reversal of course on net neutrality seems likely, Roberts was asked during Comcast’s fourth-quarter earnings call Thursday about the fast-shifting political winds

Not surprisingly, Roberts still favors a “light-touch” approach to rule making. However, he seemed willing to accept a more lasting outcome that wound’t shift every time the White House changed its political party affiliation. 

“If there's a way to codify that and perhaps put this issue in a permanent, more consistent place, that's certainly a possibility,” he said.

Overall, he said there’s nothing new regarding Comcast’s philosophy on the matter. 

“We’ve managed to successfully work with different administrations, with different regulatory perspectives around the broadband business,” Roberts said. “And our view is obviously strongly felt that the long-standing light-touch regulation has worked since President Clinton created that classification that hence reduces regulatory risks for investors and allows the company to invest more and that paid dividends unbelievably all during COVID.”

As he always has, Roberts insisted that Comcast abides by net neutrality. 

“We were never asked to down-res any services,” Roberts said. “And content providers and consumers really benefited. And that wasn't universally the case around the globe with different broadband regimes. But we do believe in net neutrality and have--we're not going to discriminate, block, throttle on some of the other principles that we've committed to.”

Daniel Frankel is the managing editor of Next TV, an internet publishing vertical focused on the business of video streaming. A Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered the media and technology industries for more than two decades, Daniel has worked on staff for publications including E! Online, Electronic Media, Mediaweek, Variety, paidContent and GigaOm. You can start living a healthier life with greater wealth and prosperity by following Daniel on Twitter today!