Ted Cruz is doubling down in his fight against net neutrality. Al Franken originally accused the Texas Senator of not knowing enough about the subject to comment. Cruz is answering back on Twitter and YouTube saying that net neutrality laws would lead to “fewer choices, fewer opportunities and higher prices for consumers.”
Al Franken recently appeared on CNN‘s State of the Union with Candy Crowley to defend having net neutrality being written into law. Crowley brought up Cruz’ op-ed where the Senator called net neutrality “Obamacare for the Internet.” Al Franken said that Ted Cruz is completely wrong about the subject.
“He has it completely wrong. He just doesn’t understand what this issue is. We’ve had net neutrality the entire history of the Internet, so when he says this is the Obamacare… Obamacare was a government program that fixed something, that changed things. This is about reclassifying something, so it stays the same.”
Senator Franken chairs the Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law and was recently re-elected by 10 points.
President Obama also endorses regulations to prevent “Internet fast-lanes” and make sure people can access all sites with equal speed. His preferred approached is to treat the Internet like a public utility under Title 2 of the 1934 Telecommunications Act, giving the FCC a broad range of regulatory powers to ensure equal treatment.
Ted Cruz couldn’t disagree more.
Title 2 regulations could possibly extend past net neutrality and be used to enforce price reductions for ISPs like Comcast and Time Warner Cable.
Ted Cruz responded to Franken by posting an video on YouTube (featured below) that explains his position on Internet regulation.
“What happens when government starts regulating a service as a public utility? It calcifies everything. It freezes it in place.”
Senator Ted Cruz uses telephones as an example. He explains that landline telephones (represented by an old-fashioned turnstyle phone) are stuck in the past, while smartphones continue to advance. The reason? Because landlines fall under Title 2, whereas smartphones do not.
He then moves on to taxis (being regulated by taxi commissions) in comparison to ride-share services like Uber. His main point is simple, regulation stifles innovation, or to put it another way: don’t mess with the Internet.
Ted Cruz’ video doesn’t address Al Franken’s comments directly, it also goes off track from the net neutrality debate into a broader speech about regulation in general. Nevertheless, his arguments will likely be echoed as the debate over net neutrality heats up.
The FCC is already close to taking action according to the Wall Street Journal.
Senator Ted Cruz shot the video on November 14, while he was speaking to an audience in Capital Factory in Austin, Texas.
[Image Credit: Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons]