We don't normally do politics here, and we won't be choosing sides regardless. But a funny thing happened yesterday in presidential politics. As the summer of Trump wanes, somebody actually talked about telecommunications policy again (egads, an issue), and that somebody was former Florida governor Jeb Bush.
The Federal Communications Commission’s Net Neutrality rule classifies all Internet Service Providers (ISPs) as “public utilities,” subjecting them to antiquated “common carrier” regulation. Rather than enhancing consumer welfare, these rules prohibit one group of companies (ISPs) from charging another group of companies (content companies) the full cost for using their services. Small broadband operators—like KWISP (475 customers in rural Illinois) and Wisper ISP (8,000 customers near St. Louis, Mo)—have declared under penalty of perjury that the Net Neutrality rule has caused them to cut back on investments to upgrade and expand their networks.
It's completely unsurprising that Bush comes down on the side of the incumbent service providers and cable operators and against the Obama administration. It puts him squarely into the camp he was already sitting.
But I do find it interesting that the Bush campaign actually knows what a WISP is and that many of them oppose the FCC's implementation of Title-II-based net neutrality quite vociferously. I suppose it's natural, however, to stand with the challengers rather than the incumbent wireline and cable MSOs, which don't have the sort of public approval rates that would help.
We are almost half a year into the new net neutrality regime. So far the sky hasn't fallen yet, but these things do take some time. Whether Bush or any other candidate would actually use net neutrality (for or against) in a bid for votes in the real campaign that starts next spring/summer is another matter of course. As John Oliver showed us a over a year ago, it's rather easier to make the case for the anti-corporate side of the debate.
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