Comcast fought the last net neutrality regulation in 2015 by making a bunch of promises about how fair it would be, whether or not the FCC regulated its behavior; this week, Comcast has put on charm offensive by repeating all but one of those promises, namely, its promise not to create internet slow lanes and then extort money from web publishers by threatening to put them there unless they paid for "premium access" to the Comcast subscribers who were trying to retrieve data from them.
That promise was live on Comcast's website until April 26, 2017, but on that day, it disappeared.
By an amazing coincidence, that's the very same day that telcoms-lobbyist-turned-FCC-Chairman Ajit Pai announced his plan to kill net neutrality.
When asked to explain what "anti-competitive paid prioritization" is, the Comcast spokesperson yesterday said that zero-rating arrangements would not be anti-competitive. "See what the wireless companies have done with exempting streaming video from their internet data caps. That's procompetitive," Fitzmaurice wrote on Twitter.
To be clear, zero-rating is treated separately from paid prioritization in the FCC's rules. Zero-rating exempts certain content from data caps but doesn't speed it up relative to other content.
Under the FCC's previous Democratic leadership, the net neutrality rules allowed ISPs to implement zero-rating, but with some exceptions. Under its new Republican leadership, the FCC has allowed all manner of zero-rating. With the net neutrality rules eliminated, Comcast would be able to charge online providers for data cap exemptions without any fear of punishment from the FCC.
But the question of whether paid prioritization is "anti-competitive" or "pro-competitive" may be moot. Pai's plan will eliminate the ban on paid prioritization altogether.
Comcast deleted net neutrality pledge the same day FCC announced repeal
[Jon Brodkin/Ars Technica]