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WASHINGTON — As the Federal Communications Commission crafts rules to safeguard the open Internet and considers whether to approve a $30 billion mega-merger between Comcast and NBC, the nation’s largest cable and Internet company claims it doesn’t need any oversight. In a speech delivered on Monday to the Brookings Institution, Comcast Executive Vice President David Cohen said that “self-governance” was the best way to regulate the Internet and suggested that the debate over Network Neutrality be put “behind us — check the box and move on.”

Josh Silver, president and CEO of Free Press, made the following statement:

“Comcast is trying to rewrite history and whitewash its long record of underhanded -- if not outright illegal -- activity. The fact is that Comcast was caught interfering with lawful Internet traffic, lied about what it was doing, and tried every trick in the book to evade public scrutiny. Then when the FCC forced the company to stop discriminating against its customers, without even levying a fine, Comcast sued on a technicality to avoid any accountability.

“Now Comcast claims it was vindicated and can be trusted to regulate itself. The company even has the audacity to complain about too many lawyers being involved in the Net Neutrality debate. This is hard to swallow from a company that employs at least 100 lobbyists from 30 different firms. Maybe Comcast could demonstrate its commitment to self-governance by redirecting some of those millions into its networks or customer-service operations.

“All the lip service about consensus and the refrains of Kumbaya in David Cohen’s speech would be more believable if his company hadn’t taken every opportunity to attack the FCC, pour millions into astroturf front groups and campaign contributions, and undermine all efforts to encourage fair competition and a level playing field online. The reality is that the only thing that is keeping Comcast honest is clear rules of the road and a real watchdog to enforce them. With Comcast trying to take even more control of our media by merging with NBC, strong Net Neutrality rules have never been more needed.”


Free Press is a national, nonpartisan organization working to reform the media. Free Press does not support or oppose any candidate for public office. Through education, organizing and advocacy, we promote diverse and independent media ownership, strong public media, and universal access to communications. Learn more at

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