WaPo Supports Comcast / NBC-U Merger Shorn of Net Neutrality Conditions

by Mike Wendy on October 25, 2010

The Washington Post today came out in favor of the Comcast / NBC Universal merger.  Importantly, it also came out against Net Neutrality regulations imposed through this Consent Decree process.

You may recall that earlier this year Senator Al Franken (abetted by his buddies at the Free Press) called for strict Net Neutrality regulations to be imposed as a condition for approving the merger, ostensibly to keep the Internet “open” and free (as Media Freedom noted here back in July).

Contrary to the Senator’s entreaties – and (perhaps) exposing the charade of regulating through Consent Decree – the newspaper more broadly urges that infirmities in the system of cable regulation “should not be used as an excuse to impose onerous conditions on one company…[which would enshrine] dubious policy mandates that could quickly prove outdated or counterproductive. “

To this end, the paper notes:

FCC officials should resist calls by some merger opponents to impose “net neutrality” principles on Comcast’s Internet component.

Agreed.   Net Neutrality regulation is already a dubious policy position.  It should not be imposed through the back door, as Senator Franken and others desire.

The merger process enables unelected government bureaucrats too much opportunity to arbitrage the system, distorting it toward their pet policy initiatives.  The Post is right in supporting this merger devoid of these stealth provisions.

Should Net Neutrality regulations be warranted (which I believe they are not), let Congress, not a bent regulatory process, do it instead.

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