Cruz: Keep Unelected Bureaucrats' Hands Off Net

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) has posted a YouTube video explaining why internet service providers should not be regulated under Title II.

In the video, of a speech on the issue in Austin, Tex., last week, Cruz says that smart phones should be outside of Title II, and uses black rotary phone and cell phone to illustrate the difference between calcified public utility regulations and the innovation start-ups and entrepreneurs.

He said the simple message is: "Don't mess with the Internet."

Cruz, who told the crowd his parents were computer programmers back in the 1950s and 1960s, the era of key punches and cards and vacuum tubes, said it is now a whole different world and that the President's call for regulating ISPs under decades- old Title II was the worst thing that could happen. "The government shouldn't be picking winners and losers," he said. He argued that it was regulation that favored "the big guys with armies of lobbyists," rather than the startups and innovators.

Cruz is also the former chair of the Internet Task Force at the Federal Trade Commission, he pointed out.

"The worst thing you want is for five unelected bureaucrats in Washington to take charge of regulating the Internet as a public utility," he said.

Cruz also said 'net freedom is a speech issue and an empowerment issue and an entrepreneurship issue, and that that freedom depends on not "messing with the Internet" by imposing the "plague" of excessive regulation. He said that includes no Internet sales tax--there is a bill that could be voted on in the lame duck session, the Mainstreet Fairness Act  that would impose a sales tax on 'net transactions by eliminating the requirement that a business be connected by brick and mortar with a taxing jurisdiction.

He also argued for the U.S. not handing domain name registering over to international stakeholders.

The FCC is currently considering numerous approaches to restoring network neutrality rules, including using Sec. 706 authority to promote broadband deployment, Title II authority to regulate monopoly markets--treating ISPs as so-called "terminating monopolies" of Internet access--or some combination of the two.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.