Perry: Obama net neutrality Internet regulations are from ‘era of the Great Depression’


By Josh Peterson |

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Texas Gov. Rick Perry is the latest presidential hopeful to go after President Obama on his plan to regulate the Internet.

GREAT DEPRESSION: Texas Republican Governor Rick Perry criticized President Obama’s net neutrality plan to saddle the Internet with regulations from the “era of the Great Depression.”

On Wednesday, the Republican criticized a Monday announcement from Obama calling for strict Federal Communications Commission regulation of the Internet as a way to ensure the fair treatment of Internet traffic by Internet service providers.

This principle, also known as net neutrality, holds that ISPs should enable equal access to all content and applications without favoring any particular firms. ISPs, for example, wouldn’t be able to charge a company, such as Netflix, to gain a faster Internet connection to consumers.

ISPs are now regulated under the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which allowed phone and cable companies to compete, paving the way for the investment and innovation that made the modern Internet possible.

Activists and tech companies, and Obama more recently, have pushed for the FCC to regulate ISPs under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934, which would define ISPs as public utilities.

But ISPs and free market advocates maintain that more competition, not regulations devised during the height of the Great Depression, is the answer to protecting the Internet.

“President Obama’s call to saddle 21st century technology with outdated, unnecessary regulations from the era of the Great Depression is alarming and will stifle innovation and growth,” Perry said in a statement, attributing Texas’ prosperity to “regulatory certainty and major private investments in critical technology infrastructure.”

“Instead, we should embrace a business and regulatory climate that encourages competition and empowers consumers with greater choice and access to high-speed Internet and all the business, consumer, education and health care benefits that come with it,” he said.

Republican presidential hopeful U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, also of Texas, called net neutrality “Obamacare for the Internet” after Obama’s announcement.

National Journal reported that Obama’s Organizing for Action asked visitors to sign an online petition, complete with a fundraising link, supporting the president’s net neutrality plan.

Democratic presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren has also been an active political advocate for strong net neutrality regulations. In April, she blasted the FCC’s proposal to allow ISPs to charge Internet companies special rates, saying it would “gut” the principle of net neutrality.

Contact Josh Peterson at Follow Josh on Twitter at @jdpeterson