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Comcast executive: self-regulation, not government mandates, for Internet

By Cecilia Kang

comcastcohen.jpgComcast executive vice president David Cohen will deliver a speech in Washington on Monday, where he will stress the role of self-regulation of the Internet.

Cohen, the head of policy for the nation’s biggest Internet and cable services provider, wrote in a blog ahead of his speech at the Brookings Institution that engineering- and company-led groups such as the Internet Engineering Task Force and Broadband Internet Technical Advisory Group, sufficiently ensure competition and growth of the Web and Internet networks. Self-regulation is a better option than federal mandates, he says.

“The more important the Internet becomes, the more discussion, debate and pressure grows for more government involvement,” Cohen wrote in the blog. “I will suggest a path that relies primarily on the consensus-based self-governance model that has typified the Internet since its founding as a better alternative.”

Comcast's proposed merger with NBC Universal is under review by the Federal Communications Commission and Justice Department. The company has argued against net neutrality conditions to its merger that aren't also applied industry-wide.

The remarks come amid growing doubt that the FCC will adopt rules on net neutrality, given legal questions about its authority over broadband services. Some industry lobbyists said they expect the FCC to pursue some sort of net neutrality rule in December or January. The agency, which won’t comment on its plans, last spring outlined a push to re-regulate broadband service providers, a plan that has drawn intense opposition from network giants such as AT&T and Verizon Communications.

Congressional legislation on how network operators such as Comcast treat traffic on their networks – not favoring some Web sites over others – will be harder to pursue with the power shift in the House to Republicans, who are loath for new rules, analysts say.

photo: David Cohen, Comcast executive vice president
credit: Bloomberg

Related stories of interest:

FCC seeks to regulate Internet service providers

Planned Comcast merger ignited TV access battle

Regulators eye television, Internet access conditions to Comcast, NBC merger

By Cecilia Kang  | November 15, 2010; 11:38 AM ET
Categories:  AT&T, Comcast, DOJ, FCC, Net Neutrality, Verizon  
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Comments

Self regulation. Worked so well for BP, and Enron, and Union Carbide .......

Posted by: reiflame1 | November 15, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

The internet can be divided into two parts. The first is the content, and the second is the access/delivery method. What Comcast and others propose to do is to modify the delivery method. If they applied the same rules they want to voice telephone calls, this would be the effect. When you called your cousin Joe in Des Moines, your conversation would have a lot of noise, echo, and breakups. You might have to call Joe 3 or 4 times to have the conversation you wanted (content). If you called 1800FLORIST (who has a relationship with the phone company) you would get the service you have now, and the phone would never be busy. Without some form of legislative or FCC mandate for Net Neutrality, this is precisely the type of service you would recieve on the internet. Recent history teaches us what happens when we rely on the altruism of corporations vs. their greed. Is that the internet you want?

Posted by: murrayh | November 15, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Cohen needs some real schooling here. For starters the internet was a government thing to begin with, remember DARPA?

Secondly, there is absolutely no difference between the interstate highway and the information superhighway, and the interstate commerce clause really does apply.

Thirdly, Mr. Cohen really needs to have Comcast concentrate on delivering a quality service to their customers, and not make their basic subscribers pay to upgrade to digital service. It was the broadcast industry that lobbied the government and drove the switch from digital to analog (and not the other way around like Comcast service reps will tell you).

Lastly, the FCC SHOULD MOST DEFINITELY IMPLEMENT NET NEUTRALITY... i.e. where all data bits are treated equally, and serviced with equal priority, speed, etc in a FIFO (first in first out) manner... without regard to the origin, content of the data packets, etc.

Mr. Cohen -- the FCC and the federal government exists to serve the people... there is no mention of corporations in the constitution, hahahah.... zen in on that one.

Posted by: FranknErnest | November 15, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Cohen needs some real schooling here. For starters the internet was a government thing to begin with, remember DARPA?

Secondly, there is absolutely no difference between the interstate highway and the information superhighway, and the interstate commerce clause really does apply.

Thirdly, Mr. Cohen really needs to have Comcast concentrate on delivering a quality service to their customers, and not make their basic subscribers pay to upgrade to digital service. It was the broadcast industry that lobbied the government and drove the switch from digital to analog (and not the other way around like Comcast service reps will tell you).

Lastly, the FCC SHOULD MOST DEFINITELY IMPLEMENT NET NEUTRALITY... i.e. where all data bits are treated equally, and serviced with equal priority, speed, etc in a FIFO (first in first out) manner... without regard to the origin, content of the data packets, etc.

Mr. Cohen -- the FCC and the federal government exists to serve the people... there is no mention of corporations in the constitution, hahahah.... zen in on that one.

Posted by: FranknErnest | November 15, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Cohen needs some real schooling here. For starters the internet was a government thing to begin with, remember DARPA?

Secondly, there is absolutely no difference between the interstate highway and the information superhighway, and the interstate commerce clause really does apply.

Thirdly, Mr. Cohen really needs to have Comcast concentrate on delivering a quality service to their customers, and not make their basic subscribers pay to upgrade to digital service. It was the broadcast industry that lobbied the government and drove the switch from digital to analog (and not the other way around like Comcast service reps will tell you).

Lastly, the FCC SHOULD MOST DEFINITELY IMPLEMENT NET NEUTRALITY... i.e. where all data bits are treated equally, and serviced with equal priority, speed, etc in a FIFO (first in first out) manner... without regard to the origin, content of the data packets, etc.

Mr. Cohen -- the FCC and the federal government exists to serve the people... there is no mention of corporations in the constitution, hahahah.... zen in on that one.

Posted by: FranknErnest | November 15, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Self-regulation is the way the Internet began and the way it has existed - successfully - since the beginning. Why change?

Posted by: LBrettGlass | November 15, 2010 7:45 PM | Report abuse

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