Marco Rubio: ‘I want the Internet of tomorrow’

Josh Peterson Tech Editor
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Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio delivered a speech before Senate colleagues Wednesday in defense of the Internet of the future. His speech came during a floor debate on the Republican-led effort to overturn the FCC’s Internet regulation, which is set to take effect November 20.

“Personally, I don’t want to continue using the Internet of today,” said Rubio. “I want the Internet of tomorrow.”

The debate provided the latest chapter in a net-neutrality saga that saw both sides of the debate laying claim to the future of the Internet.

Rubio, who has previously spoken on the Senate floor about his vision of the “new American century,” told colleagues that the Internet and technology sector are what will “ensure that the next century is an American one.”

“I believe with all my heart that there is no reason why this 21st century should not be every bit as much the American Century as the last century was,” Rubio declared. “And one of the reasons I believe that is because of the advances that our entrepreneurs, our innovators are making in this field of the Internet.”

“It’s an industry where we are the leader, and it is the one that we must continue to lead,” he said.

Rubio also reminded his colleagues of the slow pace of government in the face of rapid technological change. (RELATED: Norquist pressures Senate on net neutrality vote)

“The FCC and the federal government cannot keep pace with the Internet and the technology industries, and the government should not attempt to catch up through regulation or legislation,” said Rubio.

“And that’s an important point. We are asking this government, we are asking this bureaucratic structure which struggles to keep pace with issues we have been facing for the last 20 years, to somehow keep pace with issues and the technology and the innovations that arrive in the Internet world. Not only do I think that is asking too much, I think it’s impossible.”

The FCC’s own plan to implement net neutrality regulations — which the Reason Foundation’s Peter Suderman has called the Obama administration’s “quixotic quest” to play Internet cop — began, as Minnesota Democratic Sen. Al Franken pointed out during his own floor speech Wednesday, in 2004 under Republican FCC Chairman Michael Powell.

Rubio told colleagues that government should not always be “looking at ways to preserve the status quo,” but rather, “looking at ways to promote the future of these industries.”

“And this Internet regulation does not promote the future,” Rubio insisted.

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