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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.
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Filed Under: competition, fcc, innovation, internet freedom act, marco rubio, net neutrality, ted cruz, title ii
Companies: at&t, comcast, verizon


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Feb 2016 @ 1:32pm

    “Consumers should be driving the market, and we can help by encouraging innovation, incentivizing investment, and promoting the competitive environment this industry needs."

    Killing title ii will allow the ISP's to innovate ways to protect their cable markets, incentivize customers to give up on using the Internet for entertainment. It will also incentivize the investment of money into lobbying an PACs to keep the status quo, encouraging the competition for the attention of a politician to push new laws.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    connermac725 (profile), 26 Feb 2016 @ 3:17pm

    I bet they have been paid

    ISP's campaign contributions are surely driving their talking points on this

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Feb 2016 @ 3:17pm

    all in the gubtext

    “Consumers should be driving the market,

    ...like horses drive carriages...

    and we can help by encouraging innovation,

    ..buggy whips, harsh bits, and toll roads,...

    incentivizing investment,

    ...monopolies and regulatory capture...

    and promoting the competitive environment this industry needs."

    ...banning cars, and outlawing non approved feed stores...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Feb 2016 @ 3:33pm

    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.
    Well, it doesn't make sense to stand up to them when you're on their payroll!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Feb 2016 @ 4:07pm

    These two are bought and paid for, but not by their constituents. If not Sanders then Trump, but not one of these.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Feb 2016 @ 5:34pm

    I feel really sorry for the republicans the election.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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