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The Republican nominee for president has taken aim at President Barack Obama’s position on the Federal Communications Commission’s landmark net neutrality rules.
Mitt Romney called the president’s FCC move to overturn the net neutrality regulation a “reckless attempt to take away the free market from the American people.”
In a video posted to his YouTube channel Tuesday night, Romney also blasted the FCC’s decision to undo net neutrality protections, which he said had prevented ISPs from discriminating against internet service providers and slowing down websites.
“The Internet is the backbone of America and it is vital to the success of all Americans.
And this decision by the FCC to undermine the FCC rules is a reckless attempt to gut the Internet and the free markets that it represents,” Romney said.
“This will not solve the problem of rising internet prices and will not protect consumers from unfair and deceptive practices.”
A majority of Republican lawmakers voted to overturn net neutrality in October 2015.
But the Obama administration announced in March 2016 that it would not overturn the 2015 rules, which the FCC has since called “one of the strongest and most widely used regulations on the Internet.”
The FCC ruled that broadband providers must treat all content equally, regardless of the source.
The Obama administration argued that the net was an open platform for innovation and competition and would foster the creation of new businesses and new jobs.
The FCC’s actions have sparked a fierce debate over net neutrality and whether it should be allowed to continue.
A majority in both parties support the FCC adopting a new rule to repeal net neutrality, which would overturn Obama’s decision.
Republican lawmakers, however, have called the plan a giveaway to the internet providers that want to charge for faster internet service.
In response to the Romney video, the White House released a statement in which the president said: “The President believes that broadband networks should be open, affordable, and open to all Americans and that competition and innovation will continue to thrive in the future.”
On Monday, Romney spoke to an audience at a meeting of the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C., calling the Obama decision “a bad decision.”
He also spoke to a group of conservative journalists in Ohio, telling them that the Obama FCC decision was “a terrible decision that will hurt the internet economy.”
He later tweeted: “We can’t let the FCC decide who gets access to the Internet.
That’s why I’m going to do everything I can to get net neutrality reversed.”
Romney has taken a more hawkish stance on net-neutrality issues since he took office in January 2009.
The Republican presidential candidate was a vocal opponent of the 2015 FCC decision and has criticized the Obama Administration for failing to fully enforce the rules, including by allowing internet providers to charge internet service companies for faster service.
On Tuesday, Romney criticized the FCC for not implementing a rule to enforce the 2015 net neutrality policy.
“Instead of doing a good job on this, the Obama administrative is going to have to go back to the drawing board to figure out what their next move is,” Romney told the group of reporters.
“I’m a big believer in freedom of speech, but I don’t think it should come at the expense of freedom of the marketplace.
That is why I am going to fight to overturn this terrible decision.
We are going to get rid of the Obama Administration’s terrible net neutrality regulations.”