Comcast announced on Wednesday that the company will be giving away $1,000 to each of their employees as a bonus following news of the revocation of net neutrality last week. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) sanctioned to take away the previous regulations on December 14 via a 3-2 vote among its members.
Net neutrality indicates that all information on the Internet should be treated the same by service providers. The principle was implemented two years ago under the Obama administration. These regulations prohibited Internet service providers from blocking, slowing down traffic, and charging payments for fast lanes online.
Under the new rules, Internet providers are now allowed to block, throttle, and charge money for specific websites and other online content. These are said to be more “corporation-friendly” policies, as per The Verge.
FCC’s approval came in a time while the U.S. Senate and House are both trying to pass a tax reform bill that would also favor America’s wealth and its corporations.
Comcast, an American multinational telecommunications conglomerate, has been a long-standing opposition of the Title II of the Communications Act of 1934. Net neutrality establishes itself on the Title II classification, giving the FCC the power to put Internet providers and telecommunication companies into a utility-like regulation system.
However, when the FCC changed heads under the Donald Trump administration, former chairman, Tom Wheeler’s successor, Ajit Pai reversed the ruling. Pai has long been known as a detractor of the neutrality principle even during the time when he was still Wheeler’s subordinate.
Comcast, which is the world’s largest broadcasting and cable television firm in terms of profits, cannot promise that the company would not at all block, throttle, or charge fast lanes in the future.
The Verge also noted that Comcast intends to disburse more than $50 billion in the next five years for infrastructure development, such as constructing new broadband plants and supporting various films, television shows, and theme park projects.
AT&T, another global telecommunications firm, similarly announced that it would implement a $1,000 employee gratuity scheme on the same day as Comcast’s. It is reportedly in response to both the net neutrality revocation and the soon-to-be effected tax reform bill as well. Like Comcast, AT&T is set to benefit from the repeal of the Title II provision.
In an official statement, Comcast said that the company is set to “award special $1,000 bonuses” to over 100,000 of their “non-executive” employees. Meanwhile, AT&T said that they would be giving the same to 200,000 of theirs.
A recent report by Fortune indicated that some of today’s most popular technology firms oppose Pai and the FCC’s decisions. Specifically named in the report were Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, Twitter, Snap, Airbnb, Spotify, Dropbox, and Google’s Alphabet Inc.
Google said in its own official statement that the “Internet should be competitive and open.” The tech giant then urged that no Internet service provider should be capable of blocking or controlling online traffic. Google also said that no fast lanes should be sold that would favor certain websites or online services over the others.
According to The Verge, the demise of net neutrality would not bring overnight change as Internet providers are initially expected to subtly explore ways on how to take advantage of the situation.