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Comcast Cohen-cidence? I Think Not

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Comcast veep and “uber-lobbyist” David Cohen provided a saber-rattling editorial to The Mercury News reminding the pro-Net Neutrality ilk that the sky’s not really falling without regulation. But if there is legislation passed to protect it, they can expect people to die, kids to be exposed to porn, the Internet industry to crash, and Bill Murray’s prophecy of cats and dogs living together to be fulfilled.

Well, maybe not that last one. The mass hysteria Cohen describes was actually first prophesied by Verizon. They must be working from the same playbook. His column provided nothing new to the debate, amounting to a regurgitation of telco/cable hyperbolic talking points designed to ensure a network of “billable events,” before the great fiber squeeze out to occur down the road. It’s classic misdirection.

Cohen refers to the Net Neutrality movement as one led by “a small but vocal and well-financed band of Internet giants,” with the same brand of astonishing gall typically put forth by the telecommunications and cable industry. There’s no recognition that the movement against is not only quite well-financed by huge monopolistic corporate entities, but also that these industries apparently have our legislators by theears.

It’s incredible that Cohen cites the financial incentives of the Internet giants without a word of how Comcast stands to rake in oodles and oodles of cash at the expense of the open Internet. Neither does he mention the explosion of grass roots organizations spanning both ends of the political spectrum, and the hordes of petitioners who laid their concerns on the deaf-eared steps of the Capitol.

No, the movement to protect Net Neutrality is merely “hyperventilating.” Pay no attention to the packet shaping behind the curtain. Cohen said a lot of things, not so much new, aside from extending a certain level of audacity repeatedly put forth by his industry. So as not to be long-winded, let’s address his key points in bullet point fashion.

Competition between DSL and cable broadband is intense and both face further competition from wireless and satellite broadband, fiber to the home, and even broadband over power lines.


Appreciation of competition is why his company and others work very hard to quash municipal broadband and wireless networks, vastly preferring the duopoly they currently have in place in most areas. That aside, while it is true there are other access venues on the rise, the real money will be in fiber. Once fiber-to-the-premises is built out and delivering blistering speeds, none of these other options will be attractive. It’s the last mile that matters most and provides the incentive to invest. The rest is a toll system along the way.

Internet companies will pass the costs of heavy-bandwidth content entirely to the consumer.


How can he say this with a straight face? The Internet companies already pay fees according to the amount of bandwidth they use; consumers now pay for bandwidth at their end, often at 40 times the cost. The real “ploy” is to charge both sides at every step of the way, in every market possible.

“a broadband provider might want to help bring health care into under-served rural areas with, for instance, real-time consultative video for complicated medical procedures. But network neutrality proponents would outlaw that advance unless the same network capacity be given to them, for free, to prop up their own commercial endeavors.
“Similarly, a child-friendly-content zone that packages parent-approved bandwidth-intensive games with educational tools and learning communities could also be vetoed by Internet companies that demand the right to hog the same amount of bandwidth, at no cost to them, for their own parochial designs.”


What was that you said about the sky falling? So Net Neutrality will kill country folk and expose kids to porn and rob them of their education all because the Internet giants are bandwidth greedy? Is Comcast still “one of the most far reaching distributors of pornography”? It’s nice to see you’ve placed children and the red states on your Christmas list.

“the broadband marketplace is in its infancy. No one can tell you exactly what our business model will be in three, five or 10 years from now.”


It’s in its infancy because the telecommunications industry squandered $200 billion given to them by the government to build out the network ten years ago. The U.S. is not even in the top ten in terms of broadband penetration because of that. Three, five, or 10 years from now is where we should be now, sans a cable-like system that bills consumers, content providers, small businesses, and nonprofits at every billable turn.

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Comcast Cohen-cidence? I Think Not


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    WOW!! you made my day… Thank you so much

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