Comcast, AT&T swear they don't do fast lanes … as FCC ponders rules that will allow them

FCC chairman Tom Wheeler is considering the expansion of his commission's authority over U.S. broadband, but is also contemplating a position of standing out of the way when it comes to paid prioritization deals signed between ISPs and content companies.

Citing "people familiar with his thinking," the Wall Street Journal says Wheeler is considering the expansion of FCC broadband oversight so that it could block deals it feels are uncompetitive.

Such a proposal, however, would have to clear the FCC's five-member committee of three Democrats and two Republicans.

Of course, any proposal that would allow paid prioritization would irk proponents of strong net neutrality.

Not to worry. Despite widely reported paid priority deals carved with Netflix earlier in the year, both Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) and AT&T (NYSE: T) have renewed claims that they're not in the business of creating Internet fast lanes.

"We have repeatedly made clear--both to our customers and more generally to the public--'Comcast doesn't prioritize Internet traffic or have paid fast lanes, and we have no plans to do so,'" Comcast executive VP David Cohen told Sen. Patrick Leahy in a letter dated Oct. 24 and viewed by Reuters Wednesday.

In its own response for Leahy's earlier-rendered pleas to abolish fast lanes, AT&T said pretty much the same thing.

For more:
- read this WSJ story
- read this Raw Story post

Related links:
FCC's Clyburn comes out for strict net neutrality rules for wireless
Netflix, Mozilla, others protest FCC net neutrality proposal with Internet Slowdown Day
FCC extends net neutrality comment reply period to Sept. 15