Internet Service Providers (ISPs) like Comcast, AT&T, Verizon, have spent millions of dollars on Congressional lobbying towards the repeal of net neutrality throughout the last several years. Comcast is known to be one of the biggest critics of net neutrality today. Ever since the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to reclassify broadband from ISPs as a telecommunications service in 2015, Comcast has spent around $4 million alone in Congressional lobbying on net neutrality issues from the end of 2014 through the first quarter of 2017 (according to Congressional lobbying disclosure forms). Their main objective being to remove Title II classification of ISPs providing broadband as a telecommunications service.
If ISPs are no longer classified under Title II, they could create different packages or tiers of online speeds and charge consumers for faster connection even to specific websites. Comcast, AT&T, Verizon, all could even block or censor websites they dislike by throttling your internet connection to a specific website. With throttling websites, they can even deter web traffic to sites that pay higher rates over sites that pay normal rates, controlling what website thrives and what website doesn’t. ISPs should not have the right to choose what succeeds on the internet, that’s why Title II classification for the internet was enacted, to keep the internet neutral. In an act of attempted censorship of the public’s first amendment rights, Comcast also sent a “Cease and Desist” letter to a pro-net neutrality website “Fight For The Future”, claiming that their website Comcastroturf.com “violates” intellectual properties of Comcast. Without the protection of net neutrality rules, Comcast could easily have censored Comcastroturf.com outright with no chance to fight back. Fight For The Future has actually been using their website to display AstroTurf campaigns in the FCC database or in the comment sections on net neutrality services left by ISPs like Comcast to skew public opinion with false support. AstroTurf campaigns involve ISPs that take your personal information and write fake comments or messages to the FCC in support of the removal of Title II classification for internet. You can check if your name or information was used to falsely comment in favor of repealing Title II classification at Comcastroturf.com. Fight For The Future can also help you write a message to the FCC about protecting net neutrality if you wish to do so on their website.
Comcast spending on Congressional Lobbying
Comcast’s news networks like NBC, MSNBC, and CNBC have barely mentioned net neutrality and haven’t disclosed their company’s lobbying on the issue itself. When new FCC Chairman Pai announced his plans to roll back net neutrality rules, it was the only one full report on net neutrality in 2017. NBC News’ Tom Costello disclosed that Comcastdid in fact, own NBC and listed the factually dubious reasoning from his bosses at Comcast, along with other telecom giants like AT&T, and Verizon, being against Title II net neutrality, saying it “stifles competition and creativity,” without any credible sources to back up his claim. Costello also didn’t disclose Comcast’s lobbyist spending and bias on net neutrality issues. MSNBC has done even less than NBC with not a single full news segment covering net neutrality. Seven articles have been posted on CNBC’s website, three written by CNBC staff writers, while the other four were reposts from Buzzfeed, Recode, or The Verge. With all these articles, none have disclosed the company’s lobbying on net neutrality.
ISPs are doing what they can to keep the public uninformed and unaware on net neutrality to pass this without conflict; and to take more of our money for something that should be a protected Title II utility for the people. The internet is a must-have utility in today’s world and charging exorbitant prices for website priority and censoring the people’s first amendment rights should not be in the hands of ISPs to rule with an iron fist. Consumers deserve an open and neutral internet.
July 20, 2017 Categories: