Tuesday, January 20, 2015

GOP Unveils Net Neutrality Bill

Republican lawmakers in the House and Senate have unveiled legislation that would require broadband providers to follow some Net neutrality principles, but would also prevent the Federal Communications Commission from enacting more stringent rules, according to MediaPost.com.

The draft bill, released late last week, would restrict broadband providers in at least three key ways: It would prohibit broadband providers from blocking or degrading content, while also banning them from charging companies higher fees for faster delivery. The proposed bill also specifies that the restrictions apply equally to wireline and wireless providers.

In addition, the measure prohibits the FCC from reclassifying broadband service as a utility. Many Net neutrality advocates, including President Obama, have called on the FCC to regulate broadband as a utility service, subject to common-carrier rules. Cable companies and telecoms oppose that approach, arguing that utility-style regulations, which were designed for telephone companies, aren't suited for broadband technology.

The proposed bill — which comes less than two weeks after FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler indicated the FCC was poised to declare broadband service a utility — obviously aims to prevent that move.

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