The repeal of net neutrality rules became official yesterday, giving broadband providers the right to block or throttle Internet traffic or to prioritize traffic in exchange for payment.
But at least for now, some major ISPs are saying they won’t do any of those things. Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T’s websites all say they don’t do any blocking, discounting, or prepayment.
By contrast, Charter’s display network management only promises that it will not block or throttle, while making no promises about the flow of joy. That doesn’t mean Charter has immediate plans to charge websites and online services for special access to customers. ISPs are required to publicly disclose prepayments, so we’ll see if that happens as long as companies follow the disclosure requirements.
Comcast, Charter, AT&T, and Verizon are the four largest Internet providers in the US.
Supporters of net neutrality have noted that Internet providers will be on their best behavior for the time being. Congress is considering whether to introduce a new version of net neutrality rules, with Democrats pushing for a full repeal of the FCC rules and Republicans pushing for a weaker form of net neutrality. ISPs likely want to avoid a public backlash that could increase pressure on lawmakers to enact stricter laws.
Comcast: We don’t favor traffic
Comcast’s latest version display network management states that it does not block or intercept legitimate Internet traffic and that ISPs do not receive payments for prioritization.
“Comcast does not directly or indirectly favor certain traffic over other traffic, including through the use of techniques such as traffic shaping, prioritization, or resource reservation, in exchange for consideration, money or otherwise,” the home theater provider said. the nation’s largest said. Comcast also said it does not require traffic in order to benefit any “affiliate,” which could refer to NBC’s online content or other Comcast properties.
Comcast’s information on prepayment goes beyond the promise Comcast made on another website. That page originally contained a statement that “Comcast does not prioritize Internet traffic or create paid broadband,” but that language was deleted in April 2017, as FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced the first version of his plan to eliminate net neutrality laws. Them Web page went on to say that Comcast does not “block, slow down or discriminate against legitimate content.”
Even after making that change, Comcast said last year that it had no plans for prepaid. The introduction on the new book suggested that Comcast still has no such system.
Despite the repeal of net neutrality rules, the FCC is requiring ISPs to disclose whether they engage in blocking, offering, or preemption. If Comcast chooses to start charging online services or websites for preemption, it will have to update its disclosures to avoid penalties.
AT&T and Verizon
AT&T make that a similar sentence, stating that “AT&T does not favor certain websites or Internet applications by blocking or blocking illegal Internet traffic on the basis of the content, application, service, user, or device use of it is not detrimental to broadband Internet access services.”
AT&T also said it does not favor traffic “in exchange for consideration (financial or otherwise) from a third party, or to gain an affiliate benefit.” AT&T makes an exception to this when it comes to “addressing (in) the needs of emergency communications, law enforcement, public safety (including FirstNet), or national security authorities, in accordance with or as permitted by applicable law.”
It wouldn’t be surprising to see AT&T change course to pursue pre-paid in the future. In February, the company argued that prepayment should be allowed because it could benefit applications such as “autonomous cars, robotic surgeries, or public safety communications.”
Verizon also said it’s not pursuing pre-paid for now—despite the company’s decades of allowing such transactions.
“We will not receive payments from any company to deliver its traffic faster or sooner than other traffic on our user broadcast service, nor will we receive the Internet traffic of our affiliates faster or sooner than the parties third went,” Verizon said that. “We will not prioritize traffic in a way that harms competition or consumers.”
Verizon also stated that it “will not block any lawful Internet content, applications, or services based on their source or content” and “will not throttle or slow down any Internet traffic based on its source or content .”
Verizon has played the biggest role in the broadband industry’s fight against net neutrality. It was Verizon’s lawsuit against the FCC that challenged the first version of net neutrality rules in 2014.
When rubber argument in that case, Verizon complained that net neutrality laws did not allow it to block online services that refused to pay Verizon for access to Internet users. Verizon argued that it would be able to block websites and online services “in a free market.”
While Verizon today is promising that it won’t block, slow, or charge for streaming, it’s clear what the company has planned.
Charter display page, as mentioned earlier in this article, does not make promises about advance payment. Other recent policy statement that says Charter does not “slow down, block, or interfere with legitimate content” also makes no promises on payment processing.
We asked Charter for its current stance on prepayment and will update this story if we receive a response.
Charter undertakes not to block or intercept legitimate Internet traffic. “Charter will not block or compromise its Customers’ ability to access legitimate content or services,” the statement said. Charter says it may block sites for security reasons or to prevent “transmission of child pornography or other illegal content.”
Charter made several net neutrality commitments when it sought FCC permission to buy Time Warner Cable. In exchange for the merger approval, Charter said it would avoid embargo, grant, and preemption for three years regardless of whether net neutrality laws are in place. But the FCC didn’t put this requirement in writing when it did fill out the summary in 2016, that it was unnecessary because the net neutrality law was the “law of the land.”
The FCC imposes other merger conditions, however. For seven years, Charter must offer free network connectivity to network operators, content delivery networks, and online services that meet certain reporting requirements. This should help avoid the kind of congestion that affected Netflix on Time Warner Cable and other ISPs in 2013 and 2014.
Another binding covenant that has been in place for seven years prohibits Charter from imposing data caps or charging for Internet service based on data usage.
Disclosure: The Advance/Newhouse Agreement, which includes section 13 of the Charter, is part of Advance Declarations. Advance Publications is Condé Nast, which owns Ars Technica.