Cruz, Rubio Celebrate One Year Anniversary Of Net Neutrality Rules — By Trying To Kill Them
from the hurting-consumers-for-the-good-of-consumers-everywhere dept
It has already been a year since the FCC voted to reclassify ISPs as common carriers under the telecom act. And despite the countless calories spent by the telecom industry and its various mouthpieces claiming Title II and net neutrality would demolish all Internet investment and innovation as we know it, you may have noticed that things by and large did not implode. In fact, while the FCC has been snoozing on things like zero rating and usage caps, the mere threat of rules helped the Internet by putting an end to the interconnection shenanigans causing Netflix performance degradation.
But because some apparently believe that opposing a concept with broad bipartisan support is a brilliant political strategy, eight Senators — including Presidential hopefuls Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz — decided to mark the one year anniversary with a new bill that aims to dismantle the rules and Title II. In a statement posted to the Rubio campaign website, Rubio outlines how the Restoring Internet Freedom Act (pdf) is all about (insert casual, nonsensical use of words like innovation and diversity here):
“The Internet has always been one of the best models of the free market,? said Rubio. ?There are low barriers to entry, back and forth communication between consumers and providers, and a rapid evolution of ideas. ?Through burdensome regulations and tight control like the net neutrality rule, the government only hinders accessibility and the diversity of content,? added Rubio. ?Consumers should be driving the market, and we can help by encouraging innovation, incentivizing investment, and promoting the competitive environment this industry needs.”
While certain Internet businesses may enjoy a free market, with net neutrality specifically we’re talking about the telecom industry, which simply isn’t free. The telecom market is a protectionist cabal in which a handful of companies, soaked with generations of unaccountable subsidies, enjoy limited competition thanks to their immense political power. The kind of power Comcast is currently abusing with usage caps and zero rating to hurt alternative video services. The kind of power that convinces Presidential hopefuls to proudly declare they’re fighting one of the most meaningful and broadly-supported consumer protection efforts in a generation — because of an undying love of consumers.
It’s also hard to argue that the net neutrality rules are “burdensome” when the FCC really hasn’t even bothered to enforce them yet, and there’s absolutely no objective example of said burden. Comcast imposing usage caps on uncompetitive markets, then exempting its own streaming services from them is about as clear of a violation of net neutrality that you’re going to get. But because the FCC’s “burdensome” regulations pussy-footed around the threat of caps and zero rating, we’re actually left with the rules that don’t go quite far enough.
And yes, for about the millionth time you wouldn’t need net neutrality rules if we had effective competition in the broadband space. But when push comes to shove, the same people lambasting net neutrality aren’t keen on supporting this policy, since it means standing up to the most powerful lobbying operations (AT&T, Verizon, Comcast) the country has to offer. As a result we get politicians that gut consumer protections, do absolutely nothing about the abysmal state of broadband competition, then proudly pat themselves on the back for being such wonderful pals to the American consumer.