Net neutrality is the principle that Internet service providers and governments should treat all data on the Internet equally, not discriminating or charging differentially by user, content, site, platform, application, type of attached equipment, or mode of communication. The term was coined by Columbia University media law professor Tim Wu in 2003 as an extension of the longstanding concept of a common carrier. Proponents often see net neutrality as an important component of an open Internet, where policies such as equal treatment of data and open web standards allow those on the Internet to easily communicate and conduct business without interference from a third party. A “closed Internet” refers to the opposite situation, in which established corporations or governments favor certain uses. A closed Internet may have restricted access to necessary web standards, artificially degrade some services, or explicitly filter out content.

 

Today President Obama came out in support of net neutrality, asking the FCC to reclassify broadband as a public utility. This would help stop ISPs from creating “internet slow lanes” and throttling customers. Senator Ted Cruz—who accepted campaign funds from telco giant Comcast—immediately fired back with this incendiary tweet:

Cruz compared net neutrality to Obamacare, which is the most insulting parallel a conservative Senator can make. At this point, it’s half-buzzword, half-slur, and 100% cynical.

Cruz’s communications director got in on the action, too:

https://twitter.com/amandacarpenter/status/531836474434813952

Ted Cruz and his team have the facts wrong about net neutrality. Obama specifically said the government would NOT be in charge of pricing: “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.”

Cruz rallies his supports by denigrating the Obama administration’s politics. Here, he is conflating a hatred with anything Obama stands for with a hatred for this particular stance, which is a rational and potentially bipartisan solution to a problem that affects everyone across the aisle (or at least everyone across the aisle without ties to the ISPs).

Obama is not saying the government should wrest control from private companies and start administering the Internet itself. He is trying to keep the Internet as an equalizer. There is no need for political polarization here.

Unfortunately, Cruz isn’t the only person trying to characterize a push to protect consumers as a socialist nightmare. Broadband for America had this to say:

President Barack Obama’s endorsement of 1930’s era Title II classification would lead to unprecedented government interference in the Internet and would hurt consumers and innovation. Further, for the President to issue this directive is a threat to the independence of the FCC itself. By vastly expanding the regulatory bureaucracy over the internet, the administration is turning its back on 20 years of bipartisan consensus that has allowed the Internet to flourish. The President’s approach would threaten millions of jobs and a diverse array of stakeholders including, labor, civil-rights organization, and tech companies, who have long advocated for a far more restrained approach.

The characterization that reclassifying the internet as a utility will hamper innovation and introduce a byzantine influx of administrative red tape is wrong, and it obscures the actual issue at hand here: Net neutrality is what is best for consumers. It will not choke off chances for innovation; it will ensure that innovators from across the socioeconomic spectrum will have a more level playing field when it comes to receiving information.

ISPs are moving away from net neutrality in their attempts to throttle and lay out premium traffic lanes. The government will not determine the speed of the internet, it will simply stop ISPs from slowing service down. Obama is asking private companies to treat their customers fairly; there is no part of his plan that involves the government seizing control of providers.

Freedom is a word that gets thrown around a lot in politics. Conservatives believe big government curtails freedoms. This can happen, and it is important to interrogate when and why the government creates and enforces new legislation. If the FCC authorizes the Internet fast lane rules, the government will be stifling innovation and hurting its citizens. But the government is not the only force that can constrict freedom.

Corporations can be just as tyrannical as corrupt federal administrations, and we have been in danger of ISPs controlling and corroding the flow of information through the internet in a way that would be detrimental to everybody. This is not a case of government of governmental overreach. This is a case of the government attempting to preserve an endangered freedom and acknowledge what we know to be true. The internet is now just as an essential utility as the telephone.

The only thing the only thing net neutrality would slow down is the speed at which you’re getting screwed, and that’s something everyone in Congress should agree on. Prices for broadband internet and TV packages have risen at far higher rates than practically everything else in the economy with the possible exception of healthcare. Until and unless we see more broadband competition that may arise from power companies, wireless, or something else don’t expect those ridiculously high rates we pay to slow down anytime soon.

Final Thoughts

This is an insanely cynical tactic that should worry all citizens regardless of your political leanings, and it’s coming from a powerful member of the GOP in the Senate and a potential presidential candidate for 2016. Republicans just took over Congress and hold the keys to policymaking for at least the next two years. If the best they can continue to come up with is repeating “Obama is bad!” the internet is in serious trouble.

Net neutrality is obviously nothing like Obamacare, but Cruz and his colleagues have already demonstrated they either don’t understand what internet freedom means or they’re willing to spread mendacious propaganda to help their friends at Verizon, Comcast, and other monopolistic ISPs.

If Cruz’s comments today are a sneak peek at Republican opposition to net neutrality for the next two years, we’ll be in for a rough ride. You can expect your internet to be slower and more expensive if Ted Cruz wins this fight. Americans may be apathetic about going to the polls, but be careful not to awaken a sleeping dragon, specially if that dragon buffers while watching Game of Thrones on HBO GO due to changes in net neutrality that Cruz is seeking.

By Alan Wood

Musings of an unabashed and unapologetic liberal deep in the heart of a Red State. Crusader against obscurantism. Optimistic curmudgeon, snark jockey, lovably opinionated purveyor of wisdom and truth. Multi-lingual world traveler and part-time irreverent philosopher who dabbles in writing, political analysis, and social commentary. Attempting to provide some sanity and clarity to complex issues with a dash of sardonic wit and humor. Thanks for visiting!

14 thoughts on “Why Net Neutrality is Essential and Ted Cruz is an Idiot”
  1. I think it could be one hell of an issue that young people would readily grasp if it is properly framed and presented such as “Cruz wants the fastest internet lanes for the rich while everyone else will be pushed over into the dial-up lane. “

  2. Well, that didn’t take long. Mr. Cruz, let me get ahead of the curve and arm you with your next couple of catchphrases: anti-fracking regulation is Obamacare for the Oil Industry; the Chicago Bears are Obamacare for the NFL; Ketchup is Obamacare for Mustard…..you get the idea…

  3. Why are we debating this? The internet has grown up being as neutral as possible when it comes to sites and the speed customers see. It has shown that by being that way everyone benefits – users benefit from being able to access everything regardless of what the ISP thinks and ISP’s and sites have shown the ability to grow very successful in that environment.

    Basically, the internet has shown it works wildly well in that environment. So why in the world do some companies want to “fix” that?

    Stay neutral and stop trying to apply the outdated cable TV model to the internet.

  4. I wonder which telecom company paid Cruz for this delightful little blurb? I wonder how much it costs to get our elected representative to do the bidding of the constituency?

    Lets all pool our money together and pay the senator (again) to do his job! Why don’t all of our senators for hire create a central listing along with a price sheet, so that the Americans who elected them can see how much it costs to get legislature passed for our own good.

  5. I apologize for this long post, but I think it’s important.

    I feel there is a good case to be made that the Net Neutrality issue is a red herring. Net Neutrality is crucial for innovation and free market competition and just plain fairness. This is the “equal speed” side of the problem.

    But there is another side of the problem that the huge monopoly ISP’s are even more interested in, and that may make them more than willing to cave in on Net Neutrality: Metered Billing. Capping and metering internet usage is the true pot of gold for the big ISP’s. Internet service is already the single highest profit product the monopoly cable and telecom systems sell–by far. So, Cruz and the other nut-jobs are playing right into the hands of the monopolists–as usual.

    I believe the monopolies will “cave” on Net Neutrality and then use this “loss” to justify Metered Billing.

    Allowing them to charge by the Gigabyte (which is totally unjustified) is their ultimate goal and their publicly stated plan. Multiple credible studies, around the world, have shown that the incremental cost of delivering a Gigabyte of data, above some basic service cost, is almost nothing–nearly unmeasurable.

    The monopoly cable systems have published (but in Comcast’s case “suspended”) billing plans for metered internet service, but Comcast has publicly stated they intend to implement it “across our footprint” within the next few years. This would net them unbelievable and unwarranted profits. And these billing plans are actually a DIS-incentive for them to ever improve the performance and technology of our country’s internet service. Why should they? Just raise prices.

    It’s not hyperbole to say that these billing plans would make Comcast and the few
    other monopolies, the most profitable companies in the world. Profit margins of 200%, 300%, 400% and more. For a monopoly!

    The “cable industry” has publicly projected that internet billing will average $200 to $300 per month in the next 3-5 years. Remember, this is for internet service only–no Netflix or HBO or other content–just the bits. This is, in my opinion, an equally dangerous situation for the American consumer, for freedom of information, for fair market competition and more. Because of the Citizens United Supreme Court decision, Comcast and the others will be far too powerful. They must be stopped

  6. Let the debate begin.
    This is America. We invented the internet. We should have the best access, the best speeds, the best availability and the best cost. Currently the level to meet in order to be the best is held by South Korea. I am willing to pay the same price for 1000Mbit/S as they charge in South Korea. And because I’m patriotic I’m actually willing to pay $5 more per month bringing it up to $25 a month.

    How do they do this? Competition. None of this BS monopoly with 2 cable companies carving up the market and pretending competition exists. They’ve got 3 Companies and they’re all fighting for the customers. Speed at low cost. You want to be # 1 America? There’s my requirements. Net Neutrality, 1000Mbit/s and $25 a month. Before Thanksgiving, if you don’t mind.

  7. Cruz wants an internet for the 1%, just like the 1% already has their own airlines, called private planes or charters. Let the little people curse their slow connections, data and air, while the 1% cruises in the fast lane. What Cruz doesn’t understand is that despite his educational pedigree, they would never let anyone like him in the country club, except to clean the pool, tend to the grounds, or wash dishes. Probably wouldn’t even want him serving in the members dining room.

  8. Don’t kid yourself. Put it on your calender. One year from now the GOP will claim they were for Net Neutrality and the Dems were against it. And GOP supporters will believe it.

  9. So in other words, the internet, the thing that will allow the U.S. to compete globally should instead be sold off here, blocked, and slowed so that companies can profit off of it, even though they are using the Taxpayer paid for infrastructure to power this, from wires, and fiber optics, to the easements granted by the govt. In many countries, the internet is Free, but I guess Cruz would prefer that the U.S. lag far behind other nations in trying to compete on the global market.

  10. Ted Cruz, in case readers don’t know it, has the highest supermongous I.Q. in Washington, D.C.. His I.Q. is so high, he knows the answers instantly. Why, he knows the answer before he even knows what the question is. He even knows the answers to questions that no one even cares about.

    So he is no idiot but he is soulless as in he has no soul or any care for right or fairness. He is not dumb just bought and paid for by corporate lobbyists from Comcast and others.

    The rest of the world is getting faster and faster and better and better Internet connections while the corruption of American media and utility companies are protected by guys like Cruz because, because, ooh wait for the intelligence of it! — the utilities donate money to Republicans!

    Can we please have an America that works again? Can we please lead in research and technology and not lead in corporate con jobs?

    Can we please stop with third world wages and superpower prices? Can we allow just once for a Democratic president to fix something without some Republican screwing it up again?

    1. You are correct. He went to Harvard Law school so he is no dummy, but he sure plays one quite a bit with so many idiotic comments. The epitome of an educated fool. You are also correct that this is simply about political donations from big corporate ISP’s. If they dried up he would probably not give a damn about net neutrality and would likely be a big supporter.

  11. U.S. taxpayers’ money paid for research and development of the internet. ARPAnet, the grandfather of our current internet capability, was developed by the defense department in 1969. Now the whole world is enjoying what we paid for. And to think that Ted Cruz and others feel that the government should get out of private industry business models. Go figure. The internet already has an inherent bias that favors enterprise computing over consumer computing so all this blabber is just that – blabber. The fix is in folks. Corporate America always gets it’s way and there is not a damn thing you can do about it. Ted Cruz and others are bought and sold and they don’t give a rats ass about average voters

Leave a Reply