U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio today weighed in on net neutrality, panning the Federal Communications Commission decision to implement rules ensuring Internet service providers handle all legal content equally.
In a vote Thursday morning, the FCC elected to reclassify broadband as a telecommunications utility under Title II of the Communications Act, which consider ISPs as public utilities, like phone companies. This means they will be subject to regulations designed to make sure consumers get fair access to services.
The Florida Senator issued a statement saying the FCC ruling could open the door to “overreaching government regulations and devious international schemes” that seek to seize control of the Internet from the U.S.
“A federal government board in Washington today took action that threatens to overregulate the Internet to the point of making it more expensive for consumers, less innovative and less competitive,” Rubio said. He also warned that the information superhighway is not a place to post “speed limits” and “speed traps.”
“That’s essentially what this federal action threatens to do to the Internet,” Rubio said.
“The Internet doesn’t need more rules and mandates that take power away from consumers and hand it to a federal government board that every lobbyist, lawyer and crony capitalist with a vested interest in the Internet will now seek to manipulate to their advantage,” he added.
Rubio continued by saying that “needless government intrusion” distracts from what America should be doing to “reach the next frontier in the Internet’s history,” bringing access to nearly 100 million Americans who remain offline.
The Miami Republican believes closing the digital divide is possible, but can be better achieved through legislation such as the Wi-Fi Innovation and Wireless Innovation Acts. Both bills were introduced by Rubio to increase availability, connect more people and increase capacity.
“Instead of allowing a Washington bureaucratic board to have the final say,” Rubio concluded, an action of this magnitude should be debated openly in Congress, where I’m confident it would be defeated.”