Like the leader of a pack of foxes handing out extra rabbits to celebrate the local farmers’ decision to take down all the fences and walls surrounding their chicken coops, Comcast is wasting no time celebrating the slow ruin of the internet.
Following the FCC’s repeal of net neutrality last week—in which impassioned arguments about fundamental fairness supported by an overwhelming majority of Americans were greeted with a shrug and a smirk by FCC chairperson Ajit Pai, a.k.a. the Martin Shkreli of internet consumer protection—telecom giants are taking a victory lap. As The Verge reports, Comcast is handing out $1,000 bonuses to its employees following the stripping of protections to equal internet access for all, in symbolic anticipation of the boatloads of money they now foresee coming their way, thanks to not having to adhere to pesky rules about treating all content and broadband access in like manner.
Oh, and remember how the Republican members of the FCC poo-poohed any concerns about telecom companies abusing their power by prioritizing certain traffic or impair the ability of low-income families to get comparable access by essentially saying, “They haven’t said anything about doing that!”? Well, feel free to take a look at how Comcast’s page on net neutrality changed before and after the repeal:
Comcast no longer says it will refrain from slowing down the speed at which people can access content, prioritizing certain traffic or create elite “fast lanes,” or preventing accessibility for low-income families. It’s not exactly an eight-year-old saying they won’t eat any more cookies before dinner while crumbs are falling from their mouth, because it’s actually way worse.
AT&T has also issued $1,000 bonuses to 200,000 of its employees, though it was part of a pre-planned agreement with its union—ironically reinforcing the fact that these companies are already ridiculously profitable, and Comcast could’ve delivered similar bonuses without the need to screw over the rest of America in the process. Of course, Comcast’s move goes hand-in-hand with promises to create jobs and spend upwards of $50 billion in new infrastructure and investments, because these companies aren’t complete morons and do, in fact, possess PR departments. And if you can’t trust businesses that have repeatedly lied and engaged in harmful and monopolistic business practices, then...you’re shit out of luck, because those are the only choices for most Americans who want internet. Ah, the free market.