Bush would roll back net neutrality if elected

GOP presidential candidate Jeb Bush on Tuesday unveiled policy proposals that call for rolling back major Obama administration rules, including net neutrality.

Bush’s proposal laments the rules for subjecting Internet service providers — such as Verizon, AT&T or Comcast — to “antiquated ‘common carrier’ regulations,” a frequent criticism.

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“Rather than enhancing consumer welfare, these rules prohibit one group of companies (Internet Service Providers) from charging another group of companies (content companies) the full cost for using their services,” according to the policy proposal.

The fight over the regulations is pitting Internet activists and major tech companies such as Netflix against large service providers such as AT&T. However, Bush framed his proposal as protecting some small broadband providers who asserted the rules “caused them to cut back on investments to upgrade and expand their networks.”

“Agencies today make far more laws than legislators. But unlike courts and legislators, regulators conduct their deliberations in relative obscurity, often outside of the public’s view and effectively accountable to no one, not even the president,” according to Bush’s proposal.

Republicans and Internet service providers are almost universally against the Federal Communications Commission’s rules approved in February, which reclassify Internet service under the authority governing landline phones that the FCC has more control over. The rules are meant to prevent service providers from slowing Internet traffic to any website or creating fast lanes for those willing to pay extra.

A group of trade groups and providers are challenging the rules in court, with oral arguments in the Appeals Court for the D.C. Circuit scheduled for December.

Other regulations that would be on the chopping block under Bush’s plan are the administration’s carbon and coal ash rules and the Dodd-Frank financial regulations.

But repealing Obama administration rules is only a sliver of Bush’s regulatory plan.

In addition, he would put a new regulatory freeze on agencies until one of his appointees approved new rules. He would also set a regulation budget, requiring offsets if new regulations bring costs. He would also pass an executive order outlining principles regulators should follow, including a preference for state action and “honest” cost-benefit analysis.