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Roles blur in US net neutrality fight

Comcast has for long been cast in the role of opponent of net neutrality. But according to this report, the roles are beginning to blur.

“We support permanent, strong, legally enforceable net neutrality rules,” said Comcast, the nation’s largest cable company, which once successfully sued the F.C.C. to overturn net neutrality policies. Verizon, the nation’s largest wireless company, said: “Like those participating in the Day of Action, Verizon supports the open internet.” And AT&T said that it was “joining with hundreds of other internet companies on July 12th to show our support for an open internet.” The company even created a form for people to send an automated message to the F.C.C. The text of the letter actually supports the new F.C.C. policy, but hey, it’s the thought that counts, I suppose.

So what’s going on here? Net neutrality — rules meant to ensure that broadband companies treat all internet traffic equally and don’t, for instance, block certain services or charge them to get priority access — has been at the center of a heated tech-policy battle for more than a decade. It’s a fight between internet companies — the Googles, Facebooks and Netflixes of the world — and broadband companies that control the pipes coming into your home. The battle is abstruse, but the stakes are high: Both sides say the future of the internet depends on getting these rules right.

I did not think they could continue to fight, when I wrote the parable. Has detente started?

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