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Editorial: Joining the Chorus

The GOP presidential field is filling up with candidiates very publicly opposed to the FCC’s Title II push—Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and now Carly Fiorina. Having run computer giant Hewlett-Packard, Fiorina has definite ideas about why the government should not try to run Internet companies.

After the FCC’s February vote to reclassify Internet access as a Title II service, Fiorina took to the Web in an op-ed on “Title II regulation gives the Federal Communications Commission nearly unlimited authority to micromanage how, when and where Internet companies innovate,” she wrote.

Fiorina was echoing arguments made by cable and telco officials, who have asked the FCC to stay enforcement while a federal court decides whether the commission got it wrong yet again. At issue is whether the commission broadly asserted authority over not only the last-mile connections to the home, but interconnections between large companies with competing financial interests.

“Whereas the old Internet was ‘permission-less,’ the new Internet will require bureaucratic approval for the most mind-numbing minutiae and create huge areas of uncertainty,” Fiorina continued in her opinion piece. “Major companies such as Google, Facebook, Amazon, eBay and Netflix now have a government-conferred advantage over start-ups because they can afford the lobbyists and lawyers necessary to navigate the new Title II landscape. When influence trumps innovation, big entrenched companies benefit.”

We could quibble with some of her language (are cable operators “big entrenched companies?”), but the fact that Fiorina and other GOP hopefuls are taking aim at Title II is noteworthy. Let the debate play out far beyond the convention hall in Chicago.