Comcast-Pando Pact Won't Protect Consumers

Contact Info: 
Jen Howard, Free Press, (202) 265-1490, x22 or (703) 517-6273

WASHINGTON -- Today, Comcast, the nation's largest cable company, and Pando announced plans to create a "bill of rights and responsibilities" for consumers and Internet service providers.

Late last year, the Associated Press exposed Comcast for cutting off access to legal file-sharing programs. In response to a complaint filed by Free Press and members of the SavetheInternet.com Coalition, the Federal Communications Commission has launched an official inquiry.

The FCC plans to take up the issue at a public hearing at Stanford University on Thursday.

Marvin Ammori, general counsel of Free Press and author of the complaint, issued the following statement:

"Comcast and a company called Pando have declared themselves the arbiters of consumers' rights and responsibilities. Their announcement gives little information about the arrangement, but Comcast's behavior tells us everything we need to know.

"For the past year, Comcast has been blocking peer-to-peer applications -- a practice that they continue to this day with no indication of when or if they plan to stop. During that time, Comcast has lied consistently about the blocking to its own customers, the public, the press and the FCC.

"Consumers cannot trust Comcast or any other phone and cable company with the future of the Internet. Comcast has thumbed its nose at the existing consumer bill of rights -- the FCC's Internet policy statement guaranteeing access to all online content and services. Now facing unprecedented public, government and media scrutiny, Comcast is desperately trying to change the subject with a few over-hyped side conversations.

"Slick press releases by a dishonest would-be gatekeeper do nothing to protect consumers. The need for Net Neutrality remains urgent. The FCC should do its job to uphold the existing bill of rights for consumers and should do so quickly.

"Comcast's announcement is little more than the fox telling the farmer, 'I'll guard the henhouse, you can go home.' And that's all the attention it deserves."

For more information on the Stanford hearing, visit http://savetheinternet.com/=stanford

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Free Press is a national, nonpartisan organization working to reform the media. Through education, organizing and advocacy, we promote diverse and independent media ownership, strong public media, and universal access to communications. Learn more at www.freepress.net

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