David CohenComcast EVP David Cohen just made the comment in a remarkably thorough and thoughtful discussion of his company’s views about Internet policy and media consolidation at the first MoffettNathanson Media & Communications Summit. Bullet points: He thinks net neutrality advocates have engaged in an “almost hysterical reaction” to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s effort to set new open Internet rules without reclassifying the Web as a regulated common carrier service. Cohen sees usage based Internet pricing becoming the norm in a few years. And he doesn’t fear that Comcast’s $40B acquisition of Time Warner Cable would be endangered if AT&T agrees to buy DirecTV — which he says would do more to reduce competition.

On net neutrality, Cohen says that activists calling on the FCC to reclassify the Internet as a so-called Title II common carrier service that could be more easily regulated would be disappointed in the result. “There is nothing in Title II that provides authority for saying that all [Web] services have to be treated the same” — in other words, preventing Internet providers such as Comcast from offering a for-pay fast lane for certain content providers. Telecommunications companies now deemed common carriers “are allowed to provide different levels of service for different amounts of money.” A change also could backfire: “There’s no way Google is going to invest the money they’d need to invest” in Google Fiber if the Web is a Title … Read More »