Rick Scott slams Obama’s net neutrality proposal, says it will cost $18 billion a year

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Gov. Rick Scott Wednesday criticized President Barack Obama’s net neutrality proposal will hurt the economy and could cost consumers more than $18 billion a year.

A congressional subcommittee Tuesday delayed a hearing on the Federal Communications Commission’s proposal to regulate Internet traffic rules to assure “net neutrality. The House Energy and Commerce Committee made the announcement on its Twitter account, adding that the issue “will be top priority in the new Congress.”

Scott said a diet of tax cuts and reducing regulations has enabled Florida businesses to create 680,000 private sector jobs in the past four years and that Obama proposal harms job creators.

“The Internet is a powerful tool that promotes innovation and entrepreneurship across all segments of the economy, and must be protected,” said Scott in a prepared statement. “But President Obama’s plan increases taxes on Florida families and places burdensome regulations on the technology industry.”

In November, Obama announced support for net neutrality and asked the FCC to “create a new set of rules protecting net neutrality,” and to keep the Internet free and open,” by not enabling phone and cable companies “to act as a gatekeeper, restricting what you can do or see online.”

The FCC is an independent agency. The Communication and Technology subcommittee had been expected to question five FCC commissioners about new rules Dec. 10. FCC chairman Tom Wheeler had said he hoped to have new Internet traffic rules ready by the end of the year.

Supporters of net neutrality want Internet services to be considered more like public utilities. They argue without utility-like regulations Internet service providers would be able to charge users more for access and services and like cable television, ISPs could serve as gatekeepers, blocking content and prioritize Web traffic.

Congressional Republicans, who will take control of the Senate in January, have criticized proposals to tighten Internet regulations.

The FCC is expected to release a draft of net neutrality rules after the first of the year.