Ted Cruz, The Internet and you: Net neutrality made a political toy by Texas Senator
Net Neutrality is Obamacare for the Internet?
That’s the case according to U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who tweeted that Monday.
“‘Net Neutrality’ is Obamacare for the Internet,” he tweeted. “The Internet should not operate at the speed of government.”
Cruz’s tweet is in response to President Barack Obama’s urging of FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler to keep the Internet free and open.
“I believe the FCC should create a new set of rules protecting net neutrality, and ensuring that neither the cable company nor the phone company will be able to act as a gatekeeper, restricting what you can do or see online,” Obama said in a statement.
That set of rules would have the Internet defined as a Title II utility service, like the FCC’s current control of telephone communication. This would ensure the FCC’s control of the Internet, and ensure its incredible growth, free of the hands of corporate influence.
“I am asking the Federal Communications Commission to answer the call of almost 4 million public comments, and implement the strongest possible rules to protect net neutrality,” Obama continued.
The rules included in Obama’s press release included outlawing the practice of blocking legal websites an ISP doesn’t like, the banning of broadband throttling of web services, increased transparency between ISPs and consumers and no paid prioritization from ISPs of services.
There’s got to be something in the water at the Cruz residence, because Cruz is talking trash on common-sense rules he’d be in favor of if the person who said them was on his side of the aisle.
How something as universally necessary to the democracy Cruz swore to protect as net neutrality can be likened to a health care system that has been at the center of controversy for years is beyond me.
I’m not ignorant. I know Cruz is a party hack aiming for the White House and shooting down Obama at every turn seems to be the ticket in these days, but to try and turn something like net neutrality into a political gain is downright disgusting. Especially since net neutrality is something he fought for in the past.
Just because you’re on the same side as the president for once doesn’t mean you have to switch sides.
It’s either that he’s just pot-shotting Obama, or it means he is in the back pocket of the big cable companies that seek to destroy net neutrality.
My money’s on the former, though.
What’s really funny about Cruz’s statement is that when the FCC started talking about changing the rules to benefit Internet providers like Comcast, Time-Warner and AT&T, Cruz was the one on the front lines, stating he would introduce legislation to stop the FCC from allowing Internet companies to create ‘fast’ lanes for companies that rely on the Internet like Netflix, Facebook and Amazon.
Obama’s call for the FCC to step up regulatory action to the level of telephone communications follows that ruling by a federal appeals court in May that the commission lacks the authority to decide whether Internet service providers can charge websites and Internet-based companies for preferential treatment. If the FCC rules the Internet is a utility, they could enforce net neutrality without question.
Verizon, one company that would stand to gain from the end of net neutrality, opposed this move.
“Reclassification under Title II, which for the first time would apply 1930s-era utility regulation to the Internet, would be a radical reversal of course that would in and of itself threaten great harm to an open Internet, competition and innovation,” Verizon said in a statement. “That course will likely also face strong legal challenges and would likely not stand up in court.”
Without it, there’s not much ground for argument for the FCC’s power over the old information superhighway. And an Obama-supported FCC won’t have much support in Congress with people like Cruz in charge.
“More than $1 trillion has already been invested in broadband infrastructure, which has led to an explosion of new content, applications, and Internet accessibility. Congress, not an unelected commission, should take the lead on modernizing our telecommunications laws. The FCC should not endanger future investments by stifling growth in the online sector, which remains a much-needed bright spot in our struggling economy.”
What I gather from that is that Cruz is pro-net neutrality, but to compare net neutrality to something that his party views with ire is akin to dismissing the importance of the concept of a free and open Internet, free of corporate influence.
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler knows the importance of net neutrality, but the FCC can’t do much with the tools they have right now.
“Like the president, I believe that the Internet must remain an open platform for free expression, innovation and economic growth,” Wheeler said in a statement. “We both oppose Internet fast lanes.”
Net neutrality is almost as important to freedom as a free press and free speech. In fact, without net neutrality, corporations could restrict access to websites that they don’t like.
But they wouldn’t do something so corrupt, right?
This is the United States of freakin’ America! There’s no way big companies like that could get away with throttling free speech at their discretion, right?
When Comcast was negotiating with Netflix in February over the broadband usage the streaming website used to bring movies to households around the country, the Internet giant allowed the users’ access the site in a way that would “bottleneck” to the service.
Usually, ISPs would open its peering ports to alleviate the flow of users (or peers) to the site. It was done out of courtesy to these bigger websites, but Comcast denied Netflix of that courtesy to possibly extort more money out of them.
It looks awfully fishy, and Netflix thinks so too. The company filed a petition after paying Comcast to up their broadband allocation.
Is Ted Cruz flip flopping, or should he restate himself to say that he’s for the open Internet, but doesn’t think the FCC or the Obama administration should be in charge of regulating it? The problem with the tweet is the ambiguity of its message. I guess we’ll find out what he meant later.
In the meantime, call Mary Landrieu. Call David Vitter. Call Charles Boustany. Call the FCC. Call Ted Cruz. Call Barack Obama. Let them know that you want your Internet free and open, and that if they let corporations decided which sites get love, they’re fired.