Comcast® has recently changed their net neutrality policy and the change is raising eyebrows. The Federal Communications Commission is preparing to vote to dismantle the net neutrality rules, which governs how the different internet providers of the country can distribute data, music, and movies online.
Comcast® had deleted a reference that they would not “create paid fast lanes,” which is the part of the net neutrality rules passed in the year 2015. As per the open internet or net neutrality rules, internet providers should not favor a type of data over the other, meaning that businesses like Comcast® cannot let their movies and videos stream faster than that of Netflix or any other streaming service providers.
The change of policy by Comcast® came after the announcement of FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to roll back the net neutrality rules that existed before so “the federal government will stop micromanaging the Internet,” he said in a recent statement. FCC will vote on Dec 14 to dismantle the regulations.
Sena Fitzmaurice, who is the spokeswoman of Comcast® said that they do not plan to introduce paid prioritization, blocking, or throttling any data. She quoted a paragraph in the FCC filing of Comcast in July 2017, which says, “We do not and will not … discriminate against lawful content.” In the filing, Comcast® also asked FCC to consider a “flexible approach to prioritization,” where the paid prioritization plans could be compelling for autonomous vehicles or telemedicine applications, which will require instant transmission of data.
“Is the language exactly the same in 2017 as 2010? No,” Fitzmaurice said. “Part of the filings we did this year about paid prioritization is that there have been some things in the marketplace that have come out and been pro consumer. Some people call it ‘Zero ratings.’ Some people call it paid prioritization, like T-Mobile’s BingeOn plan. A lot were up in arms about it but a lot of consumers seemed to like it.”
BingeOn feature of T-Mobile® allows users to watch video from Sling®, Netflix, and other streaming services without affecting the data use, but at a lower resolution. Opponents said that this could be violating the net neutrality rules due to the throttled speeds. T-Mobile® said that it is up to the user to turn on or off the feature and that, the service is open to all the streaming TV providers, hence it does not violate the open internet policies.
Fitzmaurice reiterated the stance of Comcast® and said, “No matter what the skeptics say, you can’t accurately convert an unequivocal statement that Comcast has no plans to enter into any paid prioritization arrangement into plans for paid prioritization. As we’ve made clear consistently, regardless of how the FCC rules turn out, we will not block, throttle, or discriminate against lawful content.”