Comcast’s Cohen: Congress should end FCC’s ‘Groundhog Day’ on net neutrality

Like in “Groundhog Day,” the cable industry is being forced to relive the same debate about net neutrality over and over again.

Comcast regulatory chief David Cohen urged Congress to step in and end what he described as a “Groundhog Day” being played out by FCC in regard to net neutrality regulation.

“Groundhog Day,” of course, is a famous 1993 Harold Ramis comedy starring Bill Murray as a curmudgeonly newscaster forced by some unseen guiding hand to live the same day over and over again until he gets things morally and spiritually in order. 

Taking to Comcast’s corporate blog after filing more comments on the matter to the FCC, Cohen wrote, “As the comment period comes to a close in the FCC’s latest review of open internet rules, consumers, ISPs, edge providers and other stakeholders might feel like it is ‘Groundhog Day,’ with the same characters weighing in over and over on the same legal and policy issues that the FCC has considered again and again for a decade.”

With Republican Ajit Pai taking over as Chairman of the FCC and shelving ISP regulations put in place by the previous Democratic-led administration, Comcast has been a leader among telecom companies, calling for new regulation of the internet that doesn’t include the Title II stipulations of the previous regime. 

With FCC’s viewpoint on the matter seeming to shift with each presidential election, Cohen called on Congress to step in and create a bipartisan solution. 

“It’s time to end this constant regulatory fluctuation and focus on protecting consumers and strengthening the American marketplace,” Cohen wrote. “As we’ve said before, and as both sides of the aisle have agreed, it’s time for Congress to enact bipartisan legislation that permanently establishes sensible and enforceable open internet protections. However, until a permanent framework is in place, the FCC can and should ensure a durable backstop and maintain core open internet protections through one or more of the options outlined in our comments and the comments of others.”

Separately and notably, Apple said it would be willing to accept a solution on net neutrality laws that didn't involve Title II language, according to an FCC filing obtained by Multichannel News

"Apple remains open to alternative sources of legal authority, but only if they provide for strong, enforceable and legally sustainable protections, like those in place today," the tech giant said.