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Texas Senate Candidates Split on Net Neutrality

The candidates for Texas' United States Senate seat are split on the proposed repeal of net neutrality rules by the Federal Communications Commission.

In Texas, candidates for the U.S. Senate are splitting ways on whether the net neutrality rules should be repealed by the Federal Communications Commission, or whether the rules should stay in place. The two leading candidates for the Senate, Senator Ted Cruz and Congressman Beto O'Rourke (D-El Paso) have both weighed in on the proposal, calling for action.

Ted Cruz, Texas' incumbent junior U.S. Senator, published an editorial last week that called for a repeal of the current net neutrality laws.

"Therefore, it should come as no surprise that the Obama administration made the decision to set aside decades of bipartisan agreement and enact a radical proposal that reclassified the internet as a regulated public utility," Cruz wrote in the statement. "The Obama-era regulations give federal bureaucrats new authority to regulate pricing and terms of service and eventually even collect billions in new taxes."

In addition, Cruz went on to say that net neutrality rules have provided "less broadband, less innovation, and less freedom for the American consumer."

Democratic congressman Beto O'Rourke, the only declared Democrat running for the U.S. Senate criticized Cruz's editorial and instead called for unseating Cruz in 2018.

"This week, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced plans to dismantle net neutrality. Net neutrality means the companies that connect you to the Internet can't pick and choose which websites load faster or slower for users....with this decision, the FCC is trying to undermine the power of people on the Internet, which will be bad for innovation and our democracy," O'Rourke wrote in a campaign email to supporters. "One of the biggest supporters of repealing net neutrality is our opponent, Ted Cruz."

For lesser-known candidates in the race for the Senate, net neutrality is also a major issue. Republican candidate Stefano de Stefano, a Houston energy attorney, weighed in on the issue last week, saying that "without anti-trust enforcement to offset the latest deregulation, we will all soon be at the whims of an oligopoly with approval ratings as low as Congress."

Bruce Jacobson, Jr. and Geraldine Sam, both Republican candidates for the Senate, have not weighed in on the issue.

Net Neutrality is defined by the American Civil Liberties Union as a policy that "applies well-established 'common carrier' rules to the internet in order to preserve its freedom and openness. Common carriage prohibits the owner of a network that holds itself out to all-comers from discriminating against information by halting, slowing, or otherwise tampering with the transfer of any data (except for legitimate network management purposes such as easing congestion or blocking spam)."

The FCC will reportedly make a decision on net neutrality rules next month.

Photos by, KUT

Photos by, KUT

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