Jeb Bush Proudly Promises To Axe Net Neutrality If Elected

from the going-backwards dept

The Jeb Bush campaign this week unveiled a major part of the candidate’s technology platform, and it likely includes taking a hatchet to net neutrality rules. The new policy outline on Bush’s website spends some time butchering the very definition of net neutrality as well, parroting several long-standing incumbent ISP narratives that net neutrality is somehow about content companies not paying their fair share, or that modernization of existing rules is somehow “antiquated.” Indeed, Bush’s definition of net neutrality is rather unique:

“The Federal Communications Commission?s Net Neutrality rule classifies all Internet Service Providers (ISPs) as ?public utilities,? subjecting them to antiquated ?common carrier? regulation. Rather than enhancing consumer welfare, these rules prohibit one group of companies (ISPs) from charging another group of companies (content companies) the full cost for using their services.”

Except as we’ve been over this ad nauseum; net neutrality isn’t about prohibiting ISPs from charging content companies, it’s about mammoth broadband providers abusing the lack of last-mile competition to give themselves a leg up in emerging markets. I assume the Bush campaign is referencing the FCC’s plan to police interconnection deals between ISPs and the likes of Netflix, something that has actually improved the health of the Internet already. Bush doesn’t appear to understand this (or is pretending not to understand this), and proceeds to trot out examples of some poor, little ISPs that will be hurt by the FCC’s push to encourage a healthier Internet:

“Small broadband operators?like KWISP (475 customers in rural Illinois) and Wisper ISP (8,000 customers near St. Louis, Mo)?have declared under penalty of perjury that the Net Neutrality rule has caused them to cut back on investments to upgrade and expand their networks.”

Any ISP or WISP that has actually cut back on necessary infrastructure investment due the FCC’s net neutrality rules frankly either doesn’t understand them, or is playing personal partisan patty cake. Even the nation’s lumbering mega-ISPs, who’ve fought net neutrality tooth and nail, have admitted (through their own SEC filings and earnings reports) that their network investment is as healthy as ever. As noted recently, if there are network investment declines, data suggests they’ve got nothing to do with net neutrality. That net neutrality kills network investment is a dated, disproven dodo that simply won’t die.

The Bush policy missive then parrots the idea that the FCC imposed net neutrality rules in “relative obscurity,” despite a decade filled will countless open meetings, roundtables, and endless (sometimes nauseatingly so) conversation:

“Agencies today make far more laws than legislators. But unlike courts and legislators, regulators conduct their deliberations in relative obscurity, often outside of the public?s view and effectively accountable to no one, not even the president.”

That’s just the thing though: net neutrality was passed by regulators only after an unprecedented groundswell of public support demanded protections. It’s about protecting consumers and small businesses from the AT&T, Verizon and Comcast’s of the world in the absence of competition. Bush is too busy pandering to the mega-ISPs to bother mentioning what his solution for this lack of broadband competition is, or if he’s even capable of admitting a lack of competition exists. But in standing up for the mega-ISPs Jeb makes it pretty clear his technology policies are dated somewhere around 2002 or so.

None of this is surprising, since earlier this year Bush proudly declared that net neutrality was the “craziest idea he’s ever heard.” Of course the craziest idea I’ve heard is a candidate running in 2016 who thinks it’s a smashing idea to defend AT&VerizoCast, and walk back a decade of progress on a subject it’s abundantly clear he doesn’t actually understand.

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Comments on “Jeb Bush Proudly Promises To Axe Net Neutrality If Elected”

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jackn says:

“Small broadband operators—like KWISP (475 customers in rural Illinois) and Wisper ISP (8,000 customers near St. Louis, Mo)—have declared under penalty of perjury that the Net Neutrality rule has caused them to cut back on investments to upgrade and expand their networks”

‘Under penalty of perjury….” now that’s funny.

Michael (profile) says:

“Small broadband operators—like KWISP (475 customers in rural Illinois) and Wisper ISP (8,000 customers near St. Louis, Mo)—have declared under penalty of perjury that the Net Neutrality rule has caused them to cut back on investments to upgrade and expand their networks”

I’m sure it’s true. They took that part of their budget and bought themselves a cand….I mean spend it on campaign contributions.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

The problem is even if they claim to remove anti-competitive laws or temporarily remove them they will eventually reestablish them. But once net neutrality is removed it will never be reestablished. Only laws in the interests of those that buy politicians are permanent. Laws in the public interest are only temporary.

Michael (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

It’s not just the laws that are the problem. The incumbent ISP’s were subsidized building out their networks. It is very difficult to come up with the cash needed to actually run physical lines in rural areas. So while you may be able to get Google fiber in urban areas, many people in rural areas will continue to have little to no competition.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Speaking of opensecrets.org, I browsed their Lobbying & Special Interest section under “Telecom Services & Equipment” and, for some reason, couldn’t find Net Neutrality Corp. Inc. listed anywhere. After a site-wide search, I was relieved to find the Net Neutrality Coalition. Sure, the Coalition hasn’t existed since 2006, but it still seems to me like everyone’s interests are represented equally.

(http://www.opensecrets.org/industries/indus.php?ind=B09)
(http://www.opensecrets.org/lobby/clientsum.php?id=F17991&year=2006)

Anonymous Coward says:

Didn’t the first two Bushs’ do enough damage already? Why would we need a 3rd? Besides when did he become an expert in something that he knows nothing about? What’s the point of having Committee if their time and effort to help the people is just destroyed be candidate with an agenda to help his donors? Although then again look at the FTC, they are a complete corruption and all of them should be jailed.

Groaker (profile) says:

No concept of technology, what it is, what it means, how it is powering the little left of US productivity. Now that manufacturing has pretty much been destroyed, without the ability to export tech, we will be left as a producer of agricultural goods.

The worst part emotionally for me, is that these idiots are proud of what they are doing.

383bigblock (profile) says:

The apple rolled a long way

I guess this apple fell and rolled down the hill and came to rest under a Pear Tree.

WTF….. Have we not learned anything over the past 8 years.
Pull AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, TMOBILE and every other ISP’s dick out of your mouth and grow a pair otherwise its dumbass statements like this will have you watching the elections from your easy chair in lieu of being involved with them.

Anonymous Coward says:

Wisper ISP

Well, I went to Wisper this afternoon just before 5. The owner’s assistant was leaving, but stopped to speak with me, along with a gentleman who did not identify himself. When I asked to speak with the owner she said he was attending a party in a distant part of the state.

The gentleman asked me what was up (and no, he was not the owner). I asked him if he knew that Jeb Bush had said that net neutrality has caused them to lower their investment in Wisper ISP. His said, “That was a misrepresentation.” I asked what part of it was a misrepresentation. He talked all over the place answering nothing. Then I asked if they had heard of net neutrality. Again he answered, “Yes, that’s a problem.” I wanted to know how that was a problem, was the owner for or against. This dude was clever, and his answer was to let me believe whatever I was disposed to believe. Again, I asked is he for or against net neutrality. His assistant spoke up, “I would not presume to speak for him.”

I asked if he would be available tomorrow and essentially got a no dice–he’s a busy man. So I said, “I will assume the whole answer to my questions is no cobmment,” and left. But not before noticing the two brand new cherry pickers in the parking lot.

BernardoVerda says:

Re: its a legit position

That’s a badly misinformed article by a marketing dweeb who — to be kind — appears to be misrepresenting himself as
(a) a techie,
(b) knowing anything about Net Neutrality

Of course, I might be wrong — he might easily just be a cynical, lying PR shill for the big ISP corporations. Considering that he is
(c) not presenting any sort of relevant arguments, but rather, merely smearing NN with utterly irrelevant, ideological “Big Gubbermint is BAD” blatherings, this is perhaps the likeliest conclusion.

CFWhitman says:

Re: its a legit position

What’s wrong with the article? Well, basically, the reasons it gives for opposing Net Neutrality are:

‘1. I distrust the government.
‘2. I distrust the government.
‘3. I distrust the government.’

Well, welcome to the club. What does it suggest as an alternative to enforced Net Neutrality? ‘Let the free market give us net neutrality.’ What free market is that? There is no free market when it comes to ISP’s. The ISP’s have lobbied for legislation that gives them local monopolies and makes the market not free.

When they’re ready to deregulate the cable industry and make the market free then the market will be ready to create Net Neutrality on its own. My guess as to when that will happen is never (well, while the current government continues, anyway). The only relief I can expect to see from the current local monopoly is that someday fiber may actually come to the area I live in, and I will have a choice between Time Warner Cable, Verizon Fios, and Google Fiber instead of being stuck with a “choice” of Time Warner Cable or a much slower DSL connection.

GEMont (profile) says:

Hulk Crush!!

…and walk back a decade of progress on a subject it’s abundantly clear he doesn’t actually understand.

Ummm… we’re talking about Jebi-Duh Bush remember.

A Bush needs know absolutely nothing more, than what is the desired outcome of the people putting money in his hand.

Destruction is not really a process that demands intellect or deep thought – just determination and the right tools.

And Jeb is definitely the right tool for the job.

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