By Zach Epstein
A sign outside the Comcast Center, left, is shown in Philadelphia. (AP PHOTO/MATT ROURKE)
Don’t worry, American consumers: the death of net neutrality is no big deal and it won’t harm your online experience at all.
That’s the takeaway from the various responses U.S. Internet service providers offered up to the public following Tuesday’s U.S. appeals court ruling that killed net neutrality rules. Some believe the ruling will ultimately lead to the destruction of the Internet as we know it today, giving service providers free rein to squeeze money out of companies looking to give their services an edge by allotting them additional bandwidth that standard service will not enjoy. But according to companies such as Comcast and Verizon, that won’t be the case at all.
The Verge assembled some initial public responses from a number of the nation’s largest service providers. Here are a few highlights:
From Comcast executive vice president David Cohen:
Comcast has consistently supported the Commission’s Open Internet Order as an appropriate balance of protection of consumer interests while not interfering with companies’ network management and engineering decisions. As a result, we agreed in the NBCUniversal Transaction Order to abide by the Open Internet rules for seven years even if the rules were modified by the courts. We remain comfortable with that commitment because we have not – and will not – block our customers’ ability to access lawful Internet content, applications, or services. Comcast’s customers want an open and vibrant Internet, and we are absolutely committed to deliver that experience.
We are committed to work with Chairman Wheeler and the Commission to play a constructive role in finding an appropriate regulatory balance going forward that will continue to allow the Internet to flourish. Given the DC Circuit Court of Appeals holding that the FCC has jurisdiction in the broadband arena to preserve and facilitate the innovation that has driven the Internet, we are optimistic that the Commission can accomplish this result while avoiding inappropriate common carrier regulation.
From Verizon, which posted a statement on its public policy blog:
Today’s decision will not change consumers’ ability to access and use the Internet as they do now. The court’s decision will allow more room for innovation, and consumers will have more choices to determine for themselves how they access and experience the Internet. Verizon has been and remains committed to the open Internet that provides consumers with competitive choices and unblocked access to lawful websites and content when, where, and how they want. This will not change in light of the court’s decision.
We look forward to working with the FCC and Congress to keep the Internet a hub of innovation without the need for unnecessary new regulations that seek to manage the explosive dynamism of the Internet.
From Time Warner Cable, which also issued a statement:
Since pioneering the development of high-speed broadband service in the late 1990s, Time Warner Cable has been committed to providing its customers the best service possible, including unfettered access to the web content and services of their choice. This commitment, which long precedes the FCC rules, will not be affected by today’s court decision.
From AT&T’s senior executive vice president of external and legislative affairs Jim Cicconi, as posted on AT&T’s public policy blog:
AT&T has been committed to the open Internet since our endorsement of the FCC’s statement of Internet freedoms in 2004. We worked constructively to help craft the FCC’s net neutrality rule, and testified in support of it in the Congress. As the FCC assesses the impact of today’s court decision, AT&T can assure all of our customers and stakeholders that our commitment to protect and maintain an open Internet will not change.
The message is clear, but whether or not reality will play out as described by the country’s top ISPs remains to be seen.