Comcast, Time Warner Tank After Obama Announces Net-Neutrality Support

Christian Datoc Senior White House Correspondent
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At 9:30 Monday morning, President Barack Obama publicly announced his support for “Net Neutrality” policies, and 30 minutes later, major Internet service providers’ stocks shot down.

“Net neutrality” has been built into the fabric of the Internet since its creation — but it is also a principle that we cannot take for granted. We cannot allow Internet service providers (ISPs) to restrict the best access or to pick winners and losers in the online marketplace for services and ideas. That is why today, I am asking the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to answer the call of almost 4 million public comments, and implement the strongest possible rules to protect net neutrality…

If carefully designed, these rules should not create any undue burden for ISPs, and can have clear, monitored exceptions for reasonable network management and for specialized services such as dedicated, mission-critical networks serving a hospital. But combined, these rules mean everything for preserving the Internet’s openness…

So the time has come for the FCC to recognize that broadband service is of the same importance and must carry the same obligations as so many of the other vital services do. To do that, I believe the FCC should reclassify consumer broadband service under Title II of the Telecommunications Act — while at the same time forbearing from rate regulation and other provisions less relevant to broadband services. This is a basic acknowledgment of the services ISPs provide to American homes and businesses, and the straightforward obligations necessary to ensure the network works for everyone — not just one or two companies.”

At 10:00 a.m., 30 minutes after the speech, the markets opened and both Comcast and Time Warner Cable — the nation’s largest digital, internet service providers — saw immediate hits.

Comcast, which opened the day at 55.12, fell over two points by midday and closed 4 percent down on the day. Similarly, Time Warner Cable saw a significant midday-decrease in stock prices, falling just over seven points from to close at 136.50. Both slides mark a significant break from the six-month average.

Conversely, AT&T — America’s next-largest ISP — saw a subtle rise in price; AT&T was up .19 points by 12:35 p.m. and closed at 35.12.

Netflix, “a major user of internet bandwidth,” saw a slight bump of .81 percent on the day, reports Market Watch.

Despite the heavy hit ISPs took Monday, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler publicly praised the president’s comments on Net Neutrality:

“We must take the time to get the job done correctly, once and for all, in order to successfully in order to protect consumers and innovators online.”