Comcast: Congress Should Lay Down Law on Net Neutrality

Call the regulatory uncertainty about the FCC's broadband regulatory authority an endless loop, a game of regulatory ping pong or Groundhog Day. But Comcast, which called it all those things, said it is ready for Congress to step in and lay down the law.

Comcast senior executive VP David Cohen blogged that point in conjunction with the company's filing of its network neutrality comments.

He said that while legislation would be preferable, Comcast also supports FCC net neutrality rules.

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"[I]t’s time for Congress to enact bipartisan legislation that permanently establishes sensible and enforceable open Internet protections," he said. "However, until a permanent framework is in place, the FCC can and should ensure a durable backstop and maintain core open Internet protections."

Cohen said Comcast was committed "to not block, throttle, or discriminate against lawful content," no matter what happens.

Comcast has been a big part of that network neutrality regulatory history, challenging the FCC's decision that the company had violated net neutrality principles more than a decade go, then, after the court agreed with Comcast, coming to the table along with other ISPS on compromise net neutrality regs not based on Title II, then challenging the FCC's decision to reclassify ISPs under Title II after the compromise rules were thrown out by the court—fter Verizon challenged them—and a new regime imposed under FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler.

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"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," said Cohen. "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."

The FCC is likely to have more luck getting enough votes on new rules than Congress, however, where the divisions remain strong and deep, and some Democrats have signaled they are not ready to come to the table if Title II is taken off it.

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.