Senators Ted Cruz and Al Franken…and John Oliver Opine on the Subject of Net Neutrality

Senator Ted Cruz R-Texas

Senator Ted Cruz

By Elaine Magliaro

Last week, Senator Ted Cruz wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post titled Regulating the Internet threatens entrepreneurial freedom. In his piece, Cruz claimed that one of the greatest regulatory threats to the Internet was net neutrality.


In short, net neutrality is Obamacare for the Internet. It would put the government in charge of determining Internet pricing, terms of service and what types of products and services can be delivered, leading to fewer choices, fewer opportunities and higher prices.

President Obama this week came out aggressively for net neutrality and turning the Internet into a public utility. Some in the online community have embraced this call, thinking that cheaper prices would result. But when has that worked? Government-regulated utilities invariably destroy innovation and freedom. Which is more innovative, the U.S. Postal Service or Facebook and Twitter? Which is better for consumers, city taxi commissions or Uber and Lyft?

John Oliver provided a different perspective on the subject of net neutrality. He talked about it on  Last Week Tonight a few months ago:

Senator Al Franken of Minnesota took issue with Cruz’s statements regarding net neutrality. On Sunday, Franken spoke with Candy Crowley on CNN’s State of the Union program. As Josh Israel of ThinkProgress noted, Franken took aim at Cruz’s claim that preserving net neutrality would “stifle freedom, entrepreneurship and creativity online.” Franken told Crowley that net neutrality “has been the way things have been since the beginning of the Internet and that creating a ‘fast lane’ for certain content, whose providers pay extra for it, would be ‘a terrible, terrible, terrible idea.’”

Franken pointed out the example of what happened with Google Video and Youtube some years ago. He said that YouTube, which was created by “three entrepreneurs in a pizzeria,” was much better than the video system created by Google. Franken said that because both “YouTube and Google Video had equal access to Internet bandwidth…the better product became more popular and Google ultimately paid $1.65 billion dollars to acquire YouTube.”

Crowley asked Franken about Cruz’s Washington Post op-ed in which the Texas Republican claimed “regulating the Internet threatens entrepreneurial freedom,” just as he believes the Affordable Care Act is “strangling our health-care” industry.

CROWLEY: [Cruz wrote] “Net neutrality is Obamacare for the Internet. It would put the government in charge of determining Internet prices, terms of service and what types of products and services can be delivered, leading to fewer choices, fewer opportunities and higher prices. Government-regulated utilities invariably destroy innovation and freedom.” Your reaction?

FRANKEN: He has it completely wrong. He just doesn’t understand what this issue is. We’ve had net neutrality the entire history of the Internet, so when he says this is the Obamacare… Obamacare was a government program that fixed something, that changed things. This is about reclassifying something, so it stays the same. This would keep things exactly the same. And the pricing happens by the value of something.


Jane C. Timm (MSNBC):

Indeed, Obamacare set significant regulations on what kinds of health insurance consumers could buy, set penalties for Americans who failed to acquire coverage, and established the marketplaces that sell health plans. Net neutrality, by contrast, is the principle that Internet service providers treat all content equally, as they have in the past, so that a student’s blog loads as quickly as a major shopping site, and neither can be charged a pay-to-play fee.

Senator Cruz “hit back” at Al Franken. He responded with a video, which Jason Easley (Politicus USA) said actually proved that Franken was correct.


In the video, Cruz has his own bizarro explanation of something that definitely isn’t net neutrality.

Cruz said, “What happens when government starts regulating a service as a public utility. It calcifies everything. It freezes it in place. Let’s give a simple contrast. The Telecommunications Act of 1934 was adopted to regulate these. (Cruz holds up a rotary phone.) To put regulations in place, and what happened? It froze everything in place. This (rotary phone) is regulated by Title II. This is not (smartphone). Your smartphone, the Internet, the apps. All of this is outside of Title II. The innovation is happening without having to go to government regulators and say mother may I. We want all whole lot more of this (smartphone) and a whole lot less of this (rotary phone).

Cruz’s little song and dance had absolutely nothing to do with net neutrality. What Cruz is obscuring is the fact that an open and free Internet gives innovators a level playing field. Net neutrality is about protecting the free market, not imposing government regulations on it.


Senator Cruz doesn’t appear to understand what net neutrality means. Can he really be that dumb?


Al Franken Explains Why Ted Cruz Doesn’t Understand The Internet (ThinkProgress)

Ted Cruz: Regulating the Internet threatens entrepreneurial freedom (Washington Post)

Obama Calls For Ban On Internet Fast Lanes To Protect Net Neutrality (Updated) (ThinkProgress)

Al Franken Just Torched Ted Cruz’s Net Neutrality Stance On CNN (Business Insider)

Ted Cruz won’t back down on net neutrality argument (MSNBC)

Ted Cruz Proves Al Franken Right: Texas Senator Doesn’t Know What Net Neutrality Is (Politicus USA)

Ted Cruz Hits Back At Al Franken On Net Neutrality (Huffington Post)

This entry was posted in Government, Media, Politics, Propaganda, Society, Uncategorized, United States and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

64 Responses to Senators Ted Cruz and Al Franken…and John Oliver Opine on the Subject of Net Neutrality

  1. Slartibartfast says:

    Elaine wrote:

    Can he really be that dumb?

    Yes. Yes he can.

    Dumb is much scarier than evil.

  2. Mike Spindell says:

    “Can he really be that dumb?”

    No, he’s no dumb at all. His game is appealing to the uninformed and to the dumb voters, by constructing false metaphors that they can digest with little thought. Using a rotary phone vis a smartphone is a false metaphor, but in the minds of his base the comparison “makes sense”. This is an example of how the Right Wing has been outmaneuvering the Left Wing for years. The Right Wing uses false, simple metaphors absorbed by voters without thought, that create false premises in their minds. The Left Wing explains things in terms that are complex and people don’t want to bother to absorb it.

  3. Elaine M. says:

    What Ted Cruz could learn from porn star comedy video

    Cruz responded, via Twitter, that “net neutrality is Obamacare for the Internet.” This is nonsense, of course, but you have to give Cruz points for trying to conflate the unpopular Obamacare — which, by the way is so loathed that it has exceeded its goal and has signed up 7.3 million people for health insurance — with net neutrality. Although on the other hand, I’m surprised Cruz didn’t claim that net neutrality is something supported by ISIS.

    You would think that Cruz, as a member of the Senate’s Communications, Technology and Internet subcommittee, would offer up a more reasoned objection to net neutrality.

    Traditionally, the debate over an issue like this would’ve been conducted in the wonky realm of policy makers and politicians. Unfortunately for Cruz, however, it has entered the world of naughty pop culture.

    On Friday, “Funny or Die,” the comedy website co-created by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay, released a video titled “Porn stars explain net neutrality.” It features adult film stars Alex Chance, Mercedes Carrera and Nadia Styles discussing the issue in a funny, accessible and provocative way.

    Did I mention that they’re naked?

    They explain that ending net neutrality would mean not only slowed down social media, it also would result in, “slower porn.” Says Styles: “Ted Cruz doesn’t want me to get naked for you.”
    Mercedes Carrera then adds a kernel of info that is both poignant on a personal level, and significant politically: “Unfortunately, Sen. Cruz — who is not sexy! — has taken countless donations from telecom giant Comcast and wants to end net neutrality.”

    That video, my friends, is political satire at its best. It uses humor to entertain as well as explain the issue.

  4. Elaine M. says:

    Ted Cruz Finds Exciting New Ways To Be Wrong About Net Neutrality

    Cruz’s video cleverly includes only the bit where Franken says, “This is about reclassifying something so it stays the same. This would keep things exactly the same that they’ve been,” and obviously what that means is Al Franken hates innovation:

    CRUZ: When you regulate a public utility, it calcifies it — it freezes it in place. Let’s give a simple contrast. The Telecommunications Act of 1934 was adopted to regulate these [brings out an old rotary-dial phone]. To put regulations in place and what happened? It froze everything in place. This is regulated by Title II. [pulls out an iPhone] This is not.

    It’s just stupid enough to be persuasive, but Cruz may want to rethink using that partial Franken clip, because, as we understand, conservatives just hate to be quoted out of context.

    What’s more, as Bob Cesca notes, Cruz is also lying about his iPhone, which is indeed
    subject to extensive government regulations including FCC guidelines, the proof of which can be found by looking at the funny symbols and codes on the back of your phone (any cellphone), not to mention the iPhone that Ted Cruz held up in the video. On top of that, the Communications Act of 1934 established the FCC in the first place, and the act absolutely regulates new media and mobile phones. Apple also faces anti-trust regulations on top of the technological regulations that face any company that manufactures electronic devices. Ted Cruz was clearly trying to pull another fast one, flagrantly lying to his audience.

    And of course, iPhones didn’t just spring fully formed from the deregulated head of Steve Jobs. They grew out of technology that has thrived because we have a regulatory framework — like, for instance, Hedy Lamarr’s 1942 patent that made cell phones possible in the first place. And of course, as we may have mentioned, the Internet itself, and its beautifully egalitarian architecture, was built and promoted by the Big Bad Government in the first place.

    Not that any of that matters. Ted Cruz isn’t merely mistaken; he’s lying and he knows it. But his rotary phone may just turn out to be the “Death Panels” lie that catches on with enough mouth breathers to actually doom Net Neutrality. Comcast über alles!

  5. swarthmoremom says: I say Cruz is more evil than dumb. He had top grades at both Princeton and Harvard Law. He was a championship debater at Princeton.

  6. bettykath says:

    Ok, Cruz is smart, not dumb, so he’s a liar.

  7. Elaine M. says:

    What Ted Cruz Doesn’t Want You to Know
    October 25, 2013
    by Timothy Karr | Free Press

    By now it seems pretty clear that Senator Ted Cruz has a plan to occupy the White House. But he doesn’t want people to know too much about it.

    And he definitely doesn’t want you to know about the special interests that have already begun to bankroll his political ambitions.

    That’s why the Texas senator’s latest crusade targets the Federal Communications Commission — and its efforts to better identify the funders of political ads.

    Cruz has placed a hold on the Senate confirmation of Tom Wheeler to head the agency, despite bipartisan agreement to vote on Wheeler without delay. Cruz wants assurances from Wheeler that the FCC won’t follow the law and require disclosure of the real funders for dark-money political groups that clog the airwaves with negative and misleading ads.

    These nominally independent 501(c)4 groups plowed millions of dollars into the 2012 elections, and there’s every indication they’ll be back in even greater numbers in 2014.

    And while the Federal Elections Commission is limited in its ability to identify the funders of the groups that emerged in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, the FCC has a clear legal path to mandate transparency.

    Broadcasters are obliged by law to disclose who pays for political ads in exchange for using the airwaves. It’s a public interest bargain stretching back almost a century, and one that forms the foundation of US communications law.

  8. Elaine M. says:

    After nonsensical comments on Net Neutrality, conservatives rage against Ted Cruz

    Ed Piper: As a Republican who works in the tech industry I can say that this statement shows you either have no idea what you are talking about or you are bought and paid for by the American Cable monopoly. This is amazingly an stupid statement and is disheartening.

    Keith French: Ted, I am as conservative as they come…. I want government out of just about everything… and I hate to say it, really hate to say it, but Obama is right on this one. I do not want my access and internet speed controlled by my ISP. It will be. The internet has been an open forum with little to no restrictions, that will change and not for the better. Bottom line, do not go against freedom of the net just because Obama is for it. Even an old blind squirrel finds a nut once in awhile.

    Joey Camp: As a Republican whom also works in IT like Ed… You have no clue what you are talking about or you are company bought and paid for.

    A Jinnie McManus: Goddammit, stop making my party look like morons and look up net neutrality. It doesn’t mean what you and your speechwriters think it means.

    James Nelson: Have to disagree with the Senator on this one. AT&T and big cable have proven they can’t be trusted and net neutrality is necessary to keep fair competition. These big monopolies own their own competing streaming services and want nothing more than to be able to relegate competitors to an internet slow lane.

    Marvin England: Ted Cruz, as a tech and fiscal conservative in Texas who generally votes Republican, I am incredibly disappointed by your completely inaccurate statement. Please read up on what Net Neutrality actually is and fire any staff you have who are advising you on technical matters.

  9. Slartibartfast says:

    Swarthmore mom,

    While his background shows that he has the mental machinery for rational thought, I think it’s more likely that he’s working from bad assumptions (i.e. GIGO) than making statements that he knows to be false and destructive. Once you’re certain that falsehoods are true, all the reasoning in the world wont save you.

  10. bron98 says:

    Net Neutrality vs. Internet Freedom
    By Alex Epstein (Newberry Observer, August 16, 2006)

    America’s leading Internet service providers (ISPs) have spent many years and billions upgrading their transcontinental networks, which constitute the backbone of the Internet. Now they are eager to profit by offering new, compelling services. One plan is to give certain websites high priority on their data, so as to guarantee “quality of service”–the speed, frequency, and reliability with which data is delivered. This would enable content providers to offer high-quality live TV and videoconferencing or advanced remote medical monitoring, without the delays and unreliability that plague the Internet today. Unfortunately, data prioritization is fiercely opposed by advocates of “Net Neutrality,” who claim paradoxically that freedom and innovation demand that companies not be free to make this innovation.

    Net neutrality is the idea that ISPs should not be able to favor some types of data over others; their networks must be “neutral” among all the data they carry. Net-neutrality supporters claim that if ISPs are free to give preferential treatment to certain websites’ data, they might drastically slow down un-favored or less-wealthy websites, diminishing their ability to offer content and make innovations. A prominent net-neutrality coalition cautions: “If you are an aspiring entrepreneur, you may be impeded from providing the ‘next big thing’ on the Internet.”

    But such scenarios are nonsensical. For any of the nation’s competing ISPs to offer customers slow, patchy, let alone nonexistent access to the websites they seek to visit, would be commercial suicide. As for innovation, websites are free to continue using standard, non-prioritized Internet service. The fact that this would be slower than premium service does not mean that it would be slow, just as UPS’s decision to offer overnight delivery did not lead them to suddenly degrade their Ground shipping. Premium Internet services would enable, not stifle, innovation, by giving websites creative options they did not have before.

    The specter of ISPs offering glacial access to certain websites is a smokescreen, designed to obscure the net-neutrality movement’s goal: preventing anyone from having superior, unequal access to customers. In the minds of net-neutrality advocates, the Internet is a collectively owned entity, to which all websites have an equal claim and are entitled “equal access.” As the title of a leading net-neutrality group proclaims: “It’s our Net.”

    But it isn’t.

    The Internet is not a collectivist commune; it is a free, voluntary, and private association of individuals and corporations harmoniously pursuing their individual goals. (While it began as a government-funded project, the Internet’s ultra-advanced state today is the achievement of private network builders, hardware companies, content providers, and customers.) Because the Internet is based on voluntary association, no one can properly compel others for their ad space, bandwidth, publicity–or data prioritization. Those who create these values have the right to use and profit from them as they see fit. Google has no more right to demand that Verizon be “neutral” with its network than Verizon has a right to demand that Google be “neutral” with its coveted advertising space.

    The only thing equal about the participants on the Internet is that all have equal freedom to deal with others voluntarily. This means they are equally free to compete for the bandwidth, dollars, and talents of others–but not entitled to an unearned, equal portion of them.

    It is the freedom of participants on the Internet to offer and profit from whatever products, services, or content they choose that has made it such a phenomenal source of content and innovation. Net neutrality would deny ISPs that freedom. It would deny their right to engage in creative, innovative, and profitable activity with those networks–in the name of those who demand their bandwidth, but are unable or unwilling to earn it in a free market.

    The widespread support for net neutrality among successful Internet companies–including Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, eBay, and Amazon–is short-sighted and contemptible. These companies, which have benefited greatly from the unimpeded freedom of the Internet, are now trying to deny the same freedom to innovative ISPs and ambitious competitors under the egalitarian banner of “equal access.” This is an invitation for any clever moocher to demand “equal access” to their hard-earned resources; indeed, Google is already being sued because its proprietary search engine allegedly gives “unfair” rankings to certain companies.

    The Internet is one of the great bastions of freedom and innovation in our civilization. Let us keep it that way by rejecting “net neutrality.”

    It seems to me that Ted Cruz is probably right. I wonder why large, existing companies are against it? Maybe they are the ones who dont wish for additional competition?

    This is nothing more than Amtrack rather than Obamacare. The result on internet service will be the same as it was on rail roads.

  11. Elaine M. says:


    I think Cruz is wrong–just as many conservatives do. New, small, innovative companies would be at a disadvantage because they most likely wouldn’t be able to pay for their sites to be delivered at faster speeds than bigger, wealthier companies. That would impede innovation. Think of the example that Franken provided about Google Video and Youtube.

  12. Elaine M. says:

    Al Franken joins the crowd ridiculing Ted Cruz on net neutrality

    Blowhard Sen. Ted Cruz is getting hit from all sides for his ridiculous net neutrality nonsense. His fellow conservatives, and Facebook followers blasted him for being an embarrassment to the whole movement for getting this one so wrong. He’s also being schooled on the issue by fellow Sen. Al Franken (D-MN).

    “He has it completely wrong and he just doesn’t understand what this issue is,” Franken said about Cruz on CNN’s State of the Union.

    “We have had net neutrality the entire history of the Internet. So when he says this is the ObamaCare, ObamaCare was a government program that fixed something, that changed things,” Franken explained. “This is about reclassifying something so it stays the same. This would keep things exactly the same that they’ve been.”

    Now, Ted Cruz isn’t a dumb guy. Chances are pretty good he understands exactly what the issue is, but that he does pretty well by Big Telecom (particularly that $10,000 from AT&T). And he’s thinking about that 2016 presidential run and how well he could do by the industry then. But he might need to rethink that.

  13. Elaine M. says:

    To save the Internet, regulate it

    “In short, net neutrality is Obamacare for the Internet. It would put the government in charge of determining Internet pricing, terms of service and what types of products and services can be delivered, leading to fewer choices, fewer opportunities and higher prices.”

    There is so much that is so wrong in just that one paragraph from the commentary by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, that ran in Monday’s Tribune that you’d almost think Cruz hadn’t read President Barack Obama’s Nov. 10 statement on net neutrality that returned this ever-simmering issue to the front burner.

    In that statement, Obama proposed a set of “bright-line rules” to protect the Internet from the predatory, monopolistic service providers who stand to wreak just the sort of havoc Cruz fears from the government. These rules include:

    No blocking. Internet service providers — your Comcasts, Verizons and AT&Ts — shouldn’t be permitted to block their customers from accessing online any content that’s legal.

    No throttling. The providers shouldn’t be permitted “to intentionally slow down some content or speed up others” based on its preferences or business interests.

    No gatekeeping. To preserve “the level playing field essential to the Internet’s growth,” Internet service providers should not be allowed to create special “fast lane” access for content providers who pay an extra fee.

    The basic idea is that the Internet is no longer a plaything or special portal for the privileged, but a communication and commerce network so essential to modern life that it’s now more analogous to electricity, water and telephone service than to subscription television or overnight package delivery services. And that this is particularly true since in many parts of the country customers have few if any choices when it comes to home access to the Web.

  14. Slartibartfast says:


    The companies who would be helped by this are not the same ones who innovate or create jobs. It unbalances the playing field towards those who have the resources and infrastructure to take advantage of it thus nullifying the advantage small, new companies (you know, the sort that create nearly all new jobs) get from being innovative.

  15. bron98 says:


    Why is it a problem if people pay for higher speeds than are now available? If a company provides the infrastructure, why should they not profit from their expenditure of billions of dollars?

    The internet will still exist, it will just have special toll lanes. We do that with roads, why is it a problem for the internet?

    What will the cost per person be? I pay 40/month for my service now. My service isnt going to change, I will just have to pay more if I want better service than I have now. At least that is how I understand it.

    There really isnt that much inovation in power supply under public utilities.

    I am sorry my conservative peers dont seem to understand what is going on. The idea of government involved in the internet more than it already is, is a really bad idea.

  16. Slartibartfast says:


    You’ve got it backward. Your service would change enormously. You could load Amazon or Google in nanoseconds but it would take you all day to load this page (hyperbolically speaking).

  17. bron98 says:


    my understanding is that they would still be free to use what we now have.

    Is the toll road a reasonable comparison? Many toll roads are built and funded by private companies, shouldnt they be allowed to make a profit? What is wrong with paying a little more money to go faster?

    If Obama is for it, I am against it. He doesnt have a temperament for individual rights and responsibilities.

  18. bron98 says:

    I sort of doubt it and Gene could always start charging a small fee. I would pay a few bucks per month to visit.

  19. Slartibartfast says:

    If Obama is for it, I am against it.”

    That might be the most disappointing thing I’ve ever heard you say. Whether President Obama is for something or against something is a moronic reason to base opinions on. A meritorious policy remains a good idea even if Hitler is the one advocating it.

    Sorry, I don’t have time to deconstruct your toll road analogy right now (the analogy is reasonable although it doesn’t lead to the conclusions you think it does), but let me ask you what you think is better for business—a nationwide network of interstate toll roads or the Eisenhower expressway system?

  20. Slartibartfast says:


    A charge like that would completely destroy the growth of this blog. You might pay, but there would be scant chance of getting new people who were willing to pay before deciding to join this community.

  21. Elaine M. says:

    Regarding the analogy to toll roads: It might be compared to people paying different fees to use different speed lanes. That is, drivers being required to pay higher tolls to use faster lanes.

    You pay only $40 a month? That’s really cheap. Is that only for your Internet?

  22. Elaine M. says:

    The Confusion Around Net Neutrality
    November 19, 2014

    Public opinion. Consistently, surveys indicate that Americans strongly favor Net neutrality – when they know what it is. That includes those who consider themselves politically conservative, contrary to this Alex Jones rant.

    A poll from the University of Delaware’s Center for Political Communication, released on the day of President Obama’s announcement, finds that 81 percent of those surveyed oppose “allowing internet service providers [ISPs] to charge some websites or streaming video services extra for faster speeds,” with only 17 percent in favor.

    A poll by Vox Populi conducted in late October for the Internet Freedom Business Alliance concludes, “When confronted with some of the implications of ending net neutrality such as ISPs having the power to charge tolls, give different access speeds to a variety of providers and limit freedom to access content, conservatives were as concerned or more concerned than liberals. Conservatives also shared the concern of liberals that giving ISPs these powers could worsen the digital divide. This suggests that conservatives do indeed support the underlying principles of net neutrality.”

    The problem, as the University of Delaware poll reveals, is that “most Americans say they have heard little or nothing about the topic;” fully half of them answering “nothing at all.” But interestingly, their survey “reveals that viewers of satirical shows such as John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight and The Colbert Report are far more aware of the issue than consumers of traditional news sources.”

  23. Bob Kauten says:

    “If Obama is for it, I am against it.”
    Do you think at all, before you write this drivel?
    This is a new low, even for you. And that’s saying something.
    You are deteriorating.

  24. bron98 says:


    What is the problem to pay extra to have faster speeds?

  25. bron98 says:


    Are comparing Hitler to Obama?

  26. bron98 says:

    “I don’t like how much power the telecoms have. But the reason they’re big and powerful isn’t because there is a lack of government regulation, but because of it. Government regulations are written by large corporate interests which collude with officials in government. The image of government being full of people on a mission to protect the little guy from predatory corporate behemoths is an illusion fostered by politicians and corporate interests alike. Many, if not most, government regulations are the product of crony capitalism designed to prevent small entrepreneurs from becoming real threats to large corporations. If Net Neutrality comes to pass how can we trust it will not be written in a way that will make it harder for new companies to offer Internet services? If anything, we’re likely to end up even more beholden to the large telecoms than before. Of course at this point the politicians will tell us if they hadn’t stepped in that things would be even worse.”

  27. bron98 says:

    As usual, you guys are for crony capitalism. Protect the big boys at the expense of the little guys all the while saying you are for the little guy.

  28. bron98 says:

    Bobby K:

    One man’s drivel is another man’s meat.

    Obama is a really bad president by my metric. In my opinion he is a petty dictator with grand ambitions. I think most of what he does is directed toward increasing his power or the power of government. I therefor cast a suspicious eye on whatever he wants to do.

    At this point I dont know enough about net neutrality, that is why I am reading what Elaine and Slarti are posting and finding articles which they can critique. My instints tell me it is not a good idea but at this point I am not sure.

    The democratic party has a totalitarian mindset.

  29. bron98 says:

    from the article posted above:

    “Internet bandwidth is, at least currently, a finite resource and has to be allocated somehow. We can let politicians decide, or we can let you and me decide by leaving it up to the free market. If we choose politicians, we will see the Internet become another mismanaged public monopoly, subject to political whims and increased scrutiny from our friends at the NSA. If we leave it up to the free market we will, in time, receive more of what we want at a lower price. It may not be a perfect process, but it will be better than the alternative.”

  30. Elaine M. says:


    As usual, you guys are for crony capitalism. Protect the big boys at the expense of the little guys all the while saying you are for the little guy.


    I think you’ve got it backwards. Without net neutrality, only big companies will be able to pay the fees for faster delivery. I think you are like Ted Cruz in misunderstanding what net neutrality means.

  31. Elaine M. says:

    Opinion: We need net neutrality because ISPs can’t be trusted

    While it’s the most common objection voiced to net-neutrality rules, anyone who feels it’s a good idea to “just leave ISPs alone” and to keep them free of “government meddling” might want to consider the current behavior of some Internet service providers before making such an argument.

    Sen. Ted Cruz recently spoke out against net-neutrality efforts and appears to have rallied the voices of his supporters against what they view as government interference in the Internet. These cries seem to falsely presuppose that the provision of Internet access by ISPs is a thriving competitive market that would blossom if left solely to the forces of the free market. Ironically, the current market for such services is not free, nor has it actually blossomed if we consider how poorly the country that invented the Internet lags behind other developed nations in Internet connectivity for its citizens.

    The question few of these voices seem to ask is whether it is wise to leave ISP control of individuals’ access to the Internet unregulated. Stories of ISPs injecting their preferred advertisements into the web pages downloaded by their consumers, or throttling services that they feel consume too much bandwidth are not unusual.

    The following is but one example that should give even the most ardent free-market, anti-net-neutrality crusader some serious pause (Read more about this incident.)

    A user reportedly found that he was unable to use encrypted email while online via a particular ISP. This problem did not occur when the user was online via another service. Before going further, it’s important to remember that many people don’t really have much of a choice as to which service they can use to get online, especially when we consider residential Internet access. This user had both this luxury and the technical know-how to investigate the problem.

    In simple terms, it turned out that the ISP was blocking its users’ access to such encrypted email services, and was doing so by modifying the response of the client’s email server to falsely indicate that the server did not support such a service. The implications of the manner in which this was done may be too dry and technical for the average person to appreciate, and so, unfortunately, cries for President Barack Obama and the Federal Communications Commission to “leave the ISPs alone” and to keep them free of “government meddling” continue.

    It’s not just that such objections are frankly wrong and seem to completely misunderstand the concept of net neutrality, depicting it, in Sen. Cruz’s words, as reducing the Internet to “government speeds.“

  32. Elaine M. says:

    Ted Cruz Is Absolutely Clueless On Net Neutrality

  33. blouise says:

    Cable companies are losing TV subscribers by the millions. They lost 1.8 million pay TV subscribers in the second quarter of 2013 alone. But most households that use their TV service also use their high speed internet service and it is that service they look to to replace the lost revenue from TV cancellations. This is all about communication transport and keeping competition to a minimum to maximize profits. They’d love to put every internet customer on a data plan and this legislation is needed to reach that goal.

    I have always used my local phone company’s DSL which is fast, secure and constantly being upgraded and maintained. The cost including all those weirdly worded fees and taxes is just shy of $40 a month and runs everything through my Wi-Fi.

  34. pete says:

    I suspect Ted knows exactly what net neutrality is. He also knows what code words are and which pocket cash donations go into.

  35. Carlyle Moulton says:

    I believe one of the things that worry network neutrality advocates is the fear of discriminatory implementation of type of service TOS.

    From early on in the life of the internet protcols four in the IP header bits were set aside for TOS types of service but internet routers have not been set up to respond to their use. If set only one of the 4 bits can be set to respectively request:-
    Minimize delay;
    Maximize throughput;
    Maximize reliability;
    Minimize cost.
    The current situation is that all bits are set to zero and even if they weren’t no internet routers in the global internet backbone are set up to respond to them, but once the decision is made to use them reprogramming routers to support different types of service is a very minor change. It may be that the potential for TOS response is already in most router software and flipping a bit in the configuration parameters when booting the router is all that is needed.

    Of course some large businesses have their own internal networks using TCP/IP protocols and may use the TOS bits for their own purposes, consider for example an airline messages related to problems related to aircraft in flight would probably use the minimize delay TOS bit, while bulk accounting data being sent from a branch office to head office would be non-urgent and could use minimize cost.

    The diagram below shows what components are involved in a connection between two computers
    which are labelled 1 and 2. Most computers whether those of home users or website providers connect via an Internet Service Provider or ISP. ISPS may be major telecoms or they may smaller businesses with a connection to a major telecom such as AT&T. The internet backbone consists of very fast very large capacity routers most of which would be owned by major Telecom providers.

    If TOS were implemented where could problems arise? Consider that Computer 2 is providing a service that requires little delay such as on demand television and bandwidth usage is up to 80% somewhere in the part of the Internet backbone that the session is using. In such a case a carrier owning the parts of the internet backbone that the session is using could charge ISP2 and ISP1 for using minimize delay, and without using minimize delay the streaming video flow would be subject to intermittent delays or complete drop outs. The costs of using minimize delay would be passed on to the users of either computer1 or computer2 or both. However one thing that is not getting smaller is internet bandwidth, fibre optic cable are getting faster but even cables that are already in the ground are capable of handling speeds much faster than they were handljng when first installed as the speed of the sending lasers and receiving detectors goes up and as multiple frequencies are multiplexed on the one cable. The last time that I had a look at a sample of fibre optic cable, it was thinner than a domestic power cord and was divided into six segments each containing 5 fibres. That is 30 separate fibres each capable at the time of handling hundreds of megabits per second. At that time the bandwidth of the transmission lasers and the receiving detectors was what limited speed but the bandwidth of both has been increasing as technology advances and a cable that was capable of handling megabits per second becomes capable of handling multiple gigabytes. Multiplexing by using lasers of different colours is another way of increasing bandwidth. If finally the fibre optic cables installed between cities in the early 2000s reach a limit laying a new cable the thickness of less than a domestic power cord is no big deal not like when telephone cables were copper and tens of centimetres thick.

    So the situation where bandwidth will become so scarce that paying extra to minimize delay may never happen,

    Computer 1 Computer 2
    | ____________ |
    | _______ | | ______ |
    __V__ | | | Internet | | | __ V____
    | |_____| ISP1 |________| Backbone |________| ISP2 |_____| |
    |____ | | | | | | | |_______|
    |_______| | | |______|
    |___________ |

  36. Carlyle Moulton says:

    Damn, my painfully constructed diagram did not make it, all the necessary blanks being stripped out.

  37. Mike Spindell says:


    Perhaps 20 years ago when I had an IT group reporting to me I might have been able to keep up with your information, however, even back then I had to rely on my technicians. This isn’t a critique of you since through my fog I gleaned some new information, it is rather an acknowledgement of how much technology has passed by this old fart. 🙂

  38. Mike Spindell says:

    “I suspect Ted knows exactly what net neutrality is. He also knows what code words are and which pocket cash donations go into.”

    I don’t suspect……I know….. that you have nailed Cruz perfectly and economically in two short sentences.

  39. bigfatmike says:

    “No, he’s no dumb at all. His game is appealing to the uninformed and to the dumb voters, by constructing false metaphors that they can digest with little thought. ”

    It sounds like Cruz and Gruber are opposite sides of the same coin. One points out that many voters are uninformed. The other uses them to his advantage.

    Discussion of net neutrality ought to highlight the hypocrisy of much that is said about free markets. Net neutrality assures a level playing field and real competition. But real competition form innovators is the last thing the establishment wants.

  40. swarthmoremom says:

    Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) took on ride-sharing company Uber Wednesday in a letter that accused the company of condoning “use of customers’ data for questionable purposes.”

    Franken referenced reports that one senior Uber executive suggested digging up private information on journalists who criticized the company and another actually did track a journalist without her permission.

    “The reports suggest a troubling disregard for customers’ privacy, including the need to protect their sensitive geolocation data,” he wrote.

    The senator said that he had serious concerns about the “scope, transparency, and enforceability of Uber’s [privacy] policies.” He referenced the so-called “God View” tool that company employees can reportedly use to track the location of any driver or customer who has requested a ride as an example of the Uber’s “use of customers’ data for questionable purposes.”

    “Moreover, it is unclear what steps, if any, you have taken to ensure that your policies are adequately communicated to all employees, contractors, and affiliates, and to ensure that such policies are fully enforced,” the senator added.

    Franken requested that the company respond by Dec. 15 to questions clarifying its privacy policy.

    Read the full letter below:

    Franken Uber Letter”

  41. Elaine M. says:


    “Discussion of net neutrality ought to highlight the hypocrisy of much that is said about free markets. Net neutrality assures a level playing field and real competition. But real competition form innovators is the last thing the establishment wants.”


  42. bigfatmike says:

    ” For any of the nation’s competing ISPs to offer customers slow, patchy, let alone nonexistent access to the websites they seek to visit, would be commercial suicide. ”

    That might be true if their were competition between ISP’s and consumers could switch easily between them. Unfortunately, in many markets that is simply not true. Many markets are near monopolies with only one major ISP available.

    As for ‘slow, patchy. service, we have already seen throttling of service. There are reports that ATT and others brought Netflix to a near stand still during negotiations over fees to be paid to the ISPs. This is on top of fees already paid by users for access to the internet and Netflix through the ISP.

    ISPs can control the speed of service and will use that power to extract what ever they can from both users who download data and media providers who use the internet as a data pipeline.

    It is clear that allowing established companies to pay for high speed access is a form of economic power that can be used to prevent competitors and innovators from entering the market to better serve consumers.

    If free market types were really interested in competition that would lead to better products for consumers they would demand net neutrality. But free market rhetoric is frequently just so much smoke to protect the status quo.

  43. Elaine M. says:

    4 Stupid Conservative Arguments Against Net Neutrality, Debunked
    Guys like Ted Cruz and Darrell Issa apparently don’t know jack about the internet.

  44. bron98 says:

    The second was the response of AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson that his company was going to step back from investing billions of dollars in building out its own GiGaPower fiber network until it received greater clarity from the FCC as to what the rules of the game will be going forward. Stephenson clearly fears that the President’s call to the FCC will result in heavy new regulations that will reduce the profit potential of the company. AT&T is holding back to see just how badly the new rules will damage its investment prospects.

  45. Heavens forbid that a company be forced to consider their customer’s best interests when there are profits to be maximized.

  46. bron98 says:

    “Net neutrality would with time be followed by regulation of net political speech. That may be the long range object.”

    Especially in light of this statment:

    “The company’s concerns are, unfortunately, right on the money. Right now, the President is importuning the FCC to reclassify broadband services from lightly regulated “information services” to heavily regulated “telecommunications services.” ”

    If the net becomes a heavily regulated telecommunications service, you may have trouble posting that video of you and the girlfriend or you and the boyfriend.

  47. Elaine M. says:

    From the Electronic Frontier Foundation

    Net Neutrality

    Net neutrality—the idea that Internet service providers (ISPs) should treat all data that travels over their networks equally—is a principle that EFF strongly supports.

    Unfortunately, the FCC is considering a plan that would allow some Internet providers to provide better access to some websites that pay a fee to reach users faster. This kind of “pay-to-play” Internet stifles innovation. New websites that can’t afford expensive fees for better service will face new barriers to success, leaving users with ever fewer options and a less diverse Internet.

    There are many ways ISPs may discriminate against how we access websites, and we stand firm in our opposition to this kind of behavior:

    In 2007, Comcast was caught interfering with their customers’ use of BitTorrent and other peer-to-peer file sharing.

    We’ve seen discriminatory traffic shaping that prioritizes some protocols over others, like when a Canadian ISP slowed down all encrypted file transfers for five years.

    The FCC fined Verizon in 2012 for charging consumers for using their phone as a mobile hotspot.
    Individually and collectively, these practices pose a dire threat to the engine of innovation that has allowed hackers, startup companies, and kids in their college dorm rooms to make the Internet that we know and love today.

    The FCC has a poor track record of getting net neutrality right. In January 2014, a federal court rejected the bulk of the FCC’s 2010 Open Internet order. The rules that the court threw out, however, were deeply flawed.

    Protecting net neutrality is a hard problem, with no easy solutions. It’s going to take a variety of actions and ongoing vigilance.

    There is one thing we can all do right now, though: call a halt to the dangerous proposals the FCC has floated to far. That’s why we are asking folks to contact both the FCC and Congress and send a clear message: It’s our internet, we won’t let you damage it, and we won’t let you help others damage it.

  48. bron98 says:

    companies do consider their customer’s interests, that is how they maximize their profits. By giving people what they want and figuring out what their next want will be. I dont need an iPhone 6 but it is sure nice. I dont have one yet.

    As usual, you guys are on the wrong side of this because of your rose colored glasses.

    If Apple wasnt allowed to innovate because no one could have a better cell phone than anyone else, we would all be carrying around 5 lb phones.

    Thank god we got rid of postal neutrality, now I can do business over-night with multiple service options for delivery; priority, 10:30 am delivery, 3 pm delivery, 2 day, 3 day, ground, air. I dont have fewer choices, I have many more choices.

    Net neutrality is going backwards to the old Soviet model of innovation which is stagnation.

  49. Mike Spindell says:

    “As usual, you guys are on the wrong side of this because of your rose colored glasses.”

    You are the one with the “rose colored glasses” because you believe that large corporations are actually interested in their customers beyond their money. CEO’s keep their jobs based on profit and not upon customer satisfaction. As for your take on “net neutrality” it is the case of the large log in you eye, that being your political philosophy. If you were really true to the “free market” you would be for, not against “net neutrality”.

  50. bron98 says:


    Based on what i have read, I think I am on the right track with this.

  51. Not even close from both a technical and philosophical perspective.

    If you truly believed in a level playing field (and understood the nature of selective data distribution in the information age), you’d find what the telecoms want to be morally reprehensible.

  52. bron98 says:

    It is called private property rights. There is infrastructure that has been creted privately.

  53. That by its nature meets all the definitions of a utility (infrastructure for a public service).

    In this instance, a utility that has become not just a bedrock in the supply of entertainment to the masses but a necessity of doing business.

    You see, this is a perfect example of why when you talk about privately built roads and bemoan commonly held infrastructure? You don’t really understand what you are talking about.

  54. Slartibartfast says:


    The basic infrastructure of the internet was no more “created privately” than the infrastructure of the interstate system. I think you’re forgetting that it wasn’t the free market that created the internet, it was the government.

  55. Elaine M. says:

    4 Stupid Conservative Arguments Against Net Neutrality, Debunked
    Guys like Ted Cruz and Darrell Issa apparently don’t know jack about the internet.


    2) Regulating the internet will stifle innovation and job creation.

    The reality: The internet we know and love is already built on the concept of net neutrality. Obama’s proposed “regulation” would simply maintain the status quo by preventing monopolistic broadband providers from charging content providers tiered rates for different speeds of internet service. Far from stifling innovation, net neutrality encourages it by allowing startups to compete on the same footing as giants like Google and Facebook. That’s why it has overwhelming support among Silicon Valley’s “job creators.”

  56. Slarti,

    Well . . . it was semi-privately built. The network backbone was built out upon DARPAnet, but the telecoms did make it more robust. However, it would indeed not exist but for a government publicly paid for project.

  57. Elaine M. says:

    Without net neutrality, internet is an unregulated monopoly: Editorial

    President Obama threw his executive weight behind preserving net neutrality Monday, which roused the usual chorus of pious mewling from multinational corporations and their congressional confederates. But if Obama gets his way, the American consumer will be spared a lifetime of digital feudalism.

    Giant internet service providers such as Comcast and Verizon argue that since they’re the guys who laid the cables and erected the cell towers, they are entitled to treat internet traffic in any manner that they wish – essentially make the rules, apportion the content, gouge their customers and dodge regulations just like the big boys always do.

    Net neutrality — equal access to all websites for all consumers, without speed or content restrictions — no longer should apply in their free market universe, they believe.

    One problem with that argument: These ISPs are really public utilities – just like electric company and phone company – and anyone who values a free and open internet as a keystone in American culture wants the FCC to regulate them as such.

    But the ISP behemoths are asking the FCC to abandon net neutrality for good. They want permission to provide special access for websites such as Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube, whose content needs a broader bandwidth to be delivered at a faster speed – a so-called “fast lane.” That would enable them to cut deals with these providers, and slow down others. Every reputable site – from Google to Facebook to Netflix – finds the idea repugnant.

  58. Slartibartfast says:


    Why are you always so concerned about unintended consequences except when it comes to the consequences of doing nothing? In this case, the consequences of failing to protect the status quo that has led to the net we have today.

  59. bron98 says:

    the net we have today is a result of the efforts of the private sector, the many miles of fiber-optic cables laid, the many routers built, the servers, etc. all owned by private companies.

    So hats off to government for validating the concept. Time to move on to the next level and see what happens. I bet the service will become cheaper and better in the next decade.

    Once you put the government in the middle of it, bye bye innovation.

    This is just a money grab by government.

    Google is looking at using satellites, all of Verizons expenditure on cable infrastructure isnt going to help them compete if Google and others go wireless. Which is where it is headed.

    I wonder what nascent technologies, which would have benefited mankind, were stillborn or aborted because of the overreach of government regulation?

  60. bron98 says:

    The correct approach therefore is to do nothing. The FCC need not implement any regulations. For now, it should sit back and relax. If some crisis occurs that merits new forms of internet regulations, we can address that situation when it comes. But for the moment, innovation on the internet is doing great. Let’s keep it that way.

  61. Elaine M. says:


    Ted Cruz is against net neutrality. He wants to change the way things are now.

  62. Bob Kauten says:

    Your position of devil’s advocate is vital to the life of this blog.
    There wouldn’t be nearly as much to spark conversation, without your frequent appeals to the absurd.
    I won’t let on, but I have come to realize that you cannot possibly seriously hold the ideas which you espouse.
    Please, sir, may we have another?

  63. Mike Spindell says:

    Let’s hear it for Bron, Hip, Hip…..Hooray!

  64. Elaine M. says:

    Ted Cruz gets even more annoying: Why he wants to make the Internet worse
    Awful senator calls net neutrality “Obamacare for the Internet” — which helps out bad actors like Comcast

    Liberal reporters, tech journalists, healthcare wonks, and basically the entire Internet were quick to point out that Cruz was absurdly wrong on the substance and demonstrated an ignorance of both healthcare and tech policy that is genuinely worrisome given that he’s a member of Congress who actually gets to vote on laws and regulations.

    But Cruz doesn’t give a damn about being right or about looking stupid in the eyes of journalists. He cares about riling up Tea Party-types and the conservatives who form his base of support, and there’s no better way to do that than to stimulate the rage centers of their brains by dropping a reference to Obamacare. A subject like net neutrality, steeped as it is in opaque technical jargon, is highly susceptible to this sort of reductive treatment. What he’s accomplished here is he’s turned the net neutrality argument into a “Barack Obama versus Ted Cruz” argument, and that’s how it will be covered by reporters who prefer personality clashes over complicated substance.

Comments are closed.