Despicable: With net neutrality repeal looming, Comcast abandons open internet pledge

Earlier this month, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai confirmed plans to pursue a repeal of net neutrality legislation. And when the commission made its intentions public earlier this year, Comcast removed a pledge to uphold net neutrality from its website.

Since 2014, the company’s website had featured the statement, “Comcast doesn’t prioritize Internet traffic or create paid fast lanes” on a page dedicated to net neutrality, according to a report from Ars Technica. It remained there until April 26; it wasn’t present as of April 27. The removal of the pledge may open the door for Comcast to create a tiered internet system, where some websites are faster and easier to access than others, potentially because they’ve paid the Internet service provider to promote their site or service.

Pai detailed his first version of the plan for a net neutrality repeal on April 26. Comcast’s open internet pledge still contains references to “full transparency” and “sustainable and legally enforceable net neutrality protections,” but it no longer makes any promises regarding traffic prioritization or fast lanes.

There are many reasons why the repeal of net neutrality could potentially be a bad thing for consumers, but this is one troubling aspect of the plans being made. Without these regulations, companies like Comcast would be able to artificially slow connection speeds for customers trying to access particular types of content. (Confused by net neutrality? Read our full primer to understand the complexities of the issue.)

For example, if a particular internet service provider has a deal with a specific search engine — like Verizon, which owns Yahoo — we might see competing search engines load their results a little slower. In some cases, they might be blocked entirely unless the customer buys a package that secures access, but Comcast is still making the pledge that this will not be the case.

The company issued a statement denying that it has entered into any paid prioritization agreements, and confirmed that it has no plans to do so at this time, according to CNET. Of course, given the removal of the public pledge, it’s possible that these measures could be established in the future.

A net neutrality repeal has been looming for some time, but now it’s finally at hand — it’s set to go to a vote on December 14.

Social Media

Your Google+ public content will remain viewable on the web, if you want it to

Google's failed social network — Google+ — will soon be wiped from the internet, but there's a team of volunteers working right now to save its public content for the Internet Archive.
Mobile

Huawei has a bold Plan B should tensions affect its software relationships

Huawei has its own software for smartphones and computers prepared, should its relationship with Google and Microsoft be adversely affected by ongoing tensions between it and the U.S..
Movies & TV

Disney Plus: Here’s what we know so far about the upcoming streaming service

Disney is bringing the full weight of its massive content library to its own streaming service in 2019. How will Disney Plus compare to Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime? Here's what we know so far.
Mobile

Pre-orders open for the 5G Moto Mod, making the Moto Z3 fully 5G-compatibile

5G is the future of mobile internet, and you've probably heard about the huge speed increases the new standard will bring. But not every phone will be capable of accessing 5G speeds. Here's every phone that supports 5G.
Home Theater

Smart speakers are about to get an IQ bump thanks to new Qualcomm chips

Qualcomm announced a new chipset that is designed to make the next generation of smart speakers sound, listen, and connect better than ever before, and it could soon be in your living room.
Computing

Reluctant to give your email address away? Here's how to make a disposable one

Want to sign up for a service without the risk of flooding your inbox with copious amounts of spam and unwanted email? You might want to consider using disposable email addresses via one of these handy services.
Computing

Old Nvidia graphics cards to get ray tracing support in upcoming driver

Nvidia's RTX ray tracing technology will no longer be limited to RTX graphics cards. An upcoming driver update will add support for low-end ray tracing to GTX 10-series and 16-series graphics cards.
Computing

Don't take your provider's word for it. Here's how to test your internet speed

If you're worried that you aren't getting the most from your internet package, speed tests are a great way to find out what your real connection is capable of. Here are the best internet speed tests available today.
Computing

Edit, sign, append, and save with six of the best PDF editors

Though there are plenty of PDF editors to be had online, finding a solution with the tools you need can be tough. Here are the best PDF editors for your editing needs, no matter your budget or operating system.
Computing

Apple iMac gets more powerful with new Intel CPUs, Radeon Pro graphics

Apple on Tuesday, March 19 refreshed its iMac lineup with new models featuring slightly more powerful Intel processors and new AMD graphics cards. The new 27-inch 5K model comes with options for Intel's six-core or eight-core ninth-gen…
Cars

Nvidia’s new simulator brings virtual learning to autonomous vehicle developers

Nvidia introduced a simulator for testing autonomous vehicle technologies. Drive Constellation is a cloud-based platform technology vendors can use to validate systems efficiently, safely, and much faster than with vehicles on real roads.
Photography

Paper designs digitize in real time using an Illustrator-connected paper tablet

Love graphic design, but prefer the feel of real paper? The new Moleskine Paper Tablet - Creative Cloud Connected syncs with Adobe Illustrator in real time, turning paper sketches into digital drawings.
Computing

Make the most of your toner with our five favorite color laser printers

Color laser printers have improved dramatically over the years, and today's models offer both blazing print speeds and great image quality. Here are our favorite color laser printers, from massive all-in-ones to smaller budget options.
Computing

Firefox 66 is here and it will soon block irritating autoplay videos

Do web advertisements have you frustrated? Mozilla is here to help. The latest version of the browser will soon block autoplaying videos by default and will also help make web page scrolling smoother.