Comcast has already been called out for seemingly making changes to its promises regarding net neutrality as the FCC vote that may repeal the rules governing how internet traffic must be handled draws closer. But one significant alteration to their website may do more to indicate where the internet service provider intends to head if the mandates are ultimately removed.
A report by Ars Technica shows that Comcast had made a significant change to a tenant on the company’s page that discusses their promises regarding net neutrality.
When Comcast’s net neutrality page was created in 2014, it included a commitment saying, “Comcast doesn’t prioritize traffic or create paid fast lanes.” That statement reportedly stayed in place until April 26 of this year.
But, on April 27, that particular pledge had vanished, along with the statement, “An Open Internet with access for all. That’s what we’re for,” and significant changes to the remaining wording were made.
Additionally, the commitment to “full transparency in our customer policies” was added to the list and verbiage changes alter the meaning of certain statements, such as going from “Comcast won’t block access to lawful content,” suggesting the tenant applies to the future, to “We do not block, slow down or discriminate against lawful content,” which is only applicable to the present.
A possible reason for the changes is that, on April 26, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai officially announced an initial plan to remove the net neutrality rules.
In his plan, internet service providers would have to make customers aware of their actions regarding how traffic is managed. However, the companies would also be granted the ability to use “paid prioritization” or create “fast lanes.”
A Comcast spokesperson asserts that the company has “no plans” to create fast lanes, but that doesn’t guarantee the internet service provider might not explore the option down the road, as Pai’s plan would allow companies to participate in paid prioritization arrangements, throttle, or even completely block web traffic at their discretion, regardless if it is lawful.
Pai has since finalized his repeal plan, and the FCC is scheduled to vote on the matter on December 14.