Why Comcast Will Do Whatever It Wants With Net Neutrality

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Comcast's (CMCSA)  David Cohen pulled no punches in a talk Wednesday to Wall Street analysts and media company investors, proclaiming that when it comes to charging different amounts of money for different levels of Internet connectivity, the law allows it.

"Whatever it is, a fast lane, paid prioritization, whatever you want to call it, it has been completely legal for 15 or 20 years," said Cohen, Comcast's executive vice-president, during a presentation at the MoffettNathanson Media & Communications Summit in New York. "Whatever it is, we are allowed to do it."

Cohen, though, was quick to add "but whatever it is, we haven't done it."

Comcast's point man on "Net Neutrality" and its pending $40 billion merger with Time Warner Cable (TWC) , lashed out at net neutrality defenders for fomenting a "hysterical reaction" to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler's proposal to allow broadband operators to sign deals with content providers such as Netflix (NFLX) or Time Warner (TWX)  to ensure faster and more reliable speeds.

"I don't think it's a debate," Cohen said regarding "Net Neutrality," which will be the subject of an FCC hearing on Thursday. "It's been an almost hysterical reaction to an attempt by the Chairman of the FCC to put in place legally enforceable open Internet protections."

"It's been the specter that's been stirred up by the Netroots and the opponents to what Tom Wheeler is doing because it sounds bad," Cohen added. "I think 'fast lane' sounds bad, but since we don't know what it is or what definitions of it are, it's a little bit hard to be able to react to it."

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