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Comcast Looking for Legislative 'Solution' to FCC Broadband Vote

3 Mar, 2015 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Perhaps no company could be more impacted by the Federal Communication Commission’s vote to reclassify broadband as a utility than Comcast. As the nation’s No. 1 cabler, it also controls a large percentage of household Internet connections, including broadband.

Yet while the FCC’s historic 3-2 vote Feb. 26 in favor of reclassification made headlines, few people have actually seen the more than 300 pages of the order, including Comcast.

Speaking March 3 at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom confab in San Francisco, Comcast CFO Michael Angelakis reiterated company statements in support of net neutrality, transparency, anti-throttling, blocking and tiered access.

“We don’t do any of those things,” he said.

Angelakis, like most ISP executives, doesn’t like the ominous role government and regulation (especially through an 80-year-old law) could play in how broadband is shepherded going forward.

“We haven’t seen the order, so we have to read it very carefully. We’ll look very carefully at the forbearance, which obviously is very important,” Angelakis said.

Specifically, the CFO believes the FCC vote has resulted in widespread uncertainty. Angelakis contends there is an alternative to reclassifying broadband under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934: Legislation.

“Something of this importance probably is the right place to have a legislative solution,” he said.

The executive believes any legal challenges likely forthcoming as a result of the vote will be better constructed after public disclosure of the ruling.

“Our hope really is that the uncertainty will create a legislative solution. That, I think, would be a nice outcome. And an appropriate outcome given all the contingencies that are involved,” Angelakis said.

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