David Cohen

David Cohen announced at TPI Aspen most of the subscribers in both Comcast and Time Warner will soon have 50 megabit service. Poor families will be able to get broadband for $10/month in New York, Los Angeles and other Time Warner territories. Other groups in need may be covered. (I suggest Medicaid recipients and less affluent senior citizens.)

I applauded when Cohen said, "Comcast strongly supports net neutrality" some issues remain with their practice. I was sitting at a table with senior AT&T & Verizon execs who looked glum. Net Neutrality will sidetrack the Bells' effort to get their "New Telecom Act" through Congress, Congressman Rick Boucher predicted. "Unless Net Neutrality is compromised, the bill won't go through in the next two years." Any support for neutrality makes it harder for the Bells to get their bill.

Comcast's $10 offer for the poor has connected more people to the net than $billion of mostly wasted government money. The program's not perfect, but Comcast has consistently simplified procedures and eliminated red tape. It's tragic that JG allowed the other cable companies to renege on their commitment to do similar made to the broadband planners. The Bells have done nothing for the poor. They've now have some of the highest prices in the developed world. The cheapest offering on Verizon's FiOS website is about $75 including fees; it was about half that a few years ago.

CEO Brian Roberts and EVP David Cohen strike me as decent men who want to do the right thing, especially for the poor. Ivan Seidenberg of Verizon likewise demonstrated good faith in his dealings and was very proud he delivered two of the best networks in the world, FiOS fiber and the first really big LTE network. They are hard driving and very effective businessman who undoubtedly have charged over many on the way to great riches. Almost no one gets to their level without making choices that put their company's interests before consumers. Of course they know they get pr value from moves like these, but they at least get done. As we say in Yiddish, most top executives I've met would rather be mensches than gonifs.

Not all succeed.