Thanks to Net Neutrality, Comcast Gives Employees $1,000 Bonuses

Comcast is celebrating the death of net neutrality.

Getty Images / Brad Barket

It’s holiday bonus season and Comcast is feeling generous to its employees. But the telecommunications giant couldn’t leave well enough alone in announcing why it’s giving out the bonuses, reminding everyone it now has unprecedented control of users’ internet experience.

Last week, the Federal Communications Commission removed longstanding net neutrality protections, which held that internet service providers like Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T aren’t allowed to offer special treatment, access, or browsing speeds for particular websites. Comcast was one of several ISPs to lobby for the Republican-controlled FCC to reverse its 2015 ruling, which had enabled it to strongly regulate net neutrality.

In a statement released Thursday, Comcast said that it will “award special $1,000 bonuses to more than one hundred thousand eligible frontline and executive employees.” The decision was “based on the passage of tax reform and the FCC’s action on broadband,” meaning Comcast felt like making it explicit this might not have happened if net neutrality were still in place.

The internet service provider’s CEO, Brian L. Roberts, also announced that the company is planning on spending “well in excess of $50 billion over the next five years” in order to build broadband plants and offer more TV and film content.

Another well-known internet service provider, AT&T made a similar move by “[paying] a special $1,000 bonus to more than 200,00 U.S. employees,” and by pledging to invest $1 billion in the U.S. However, unlike Comcast, AT&T didn’t mention the FCC’s action and said the move was purely in response to the recent passage of the tax reform bill, which President Donald Trump is expected to sign into law.

“Congress, working closely with the President, took a monumental step to bring taxes paid by U.S. businesses in line with the rest of the industrialized world,” said Randall Stephenson, the CEO of AT&T in a statement. “This tax reform will drive economic growth and create good-laying jobs.”

Much like Comcast, AT&T also supported the repeal of net neutrality. It has just elected to be a touch more coy about how good the decision figures to be for the company’s bottom line.

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