House Passes Bill Attempting to Gut Net Neutrality

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The House has voted 241-173 to approve a bill that would not only prevent the FCC from enforcing its new net neutrality rules, but would prevent the FCC from doing much of anything. The GOP’s No Rate Regulation of Broadband Internet Access Act” (pdf) was presented as a bill that would prevent the FCC from regulating broadband service rates. However, a closer examination of the bill’s language indicates that it uses an overly broad definition of “rate regulation” to prevent the FCC from enforcing much of anything.

That obviously would include not only the new net neutrality rules, but the FCC’s attempts to encourage municipal broadband, open the cable set top box to competition, and new broadband privacy rules for consumers.

Still, the bill’s supporters claim they’re protecting the Internet from a Federal government run amok.

The bill’s chief sponsor, Rep. Adam Kinzinger, (R-IL), called it “a great first step in preserving the Internet as free for future generations.” Similarly, House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology chair Greg Walden said the bill was an “essential step in having a vibrant internet ecosystem that prompts and promotes new jobs and investment.”

Consumer and net neutrality advocates however state these lawmakers are just yelling “how high” to ISP demands to jump — especially if they’re eager to continue receiving telecom sector campaign contributions. Large ISPs like Comcast, AT&T and Verizon are obviously tired of an FCC that’s been decidedly more consumer friendly than it has characteristically been over the last twenty years.

The bill ultimately won’t matter much, given that the White House has stated that it plans to veto it should it reach the President’s desk. There’s only two real ways for ISPs to gut net neutrality and FCC authority moving forward: either elect a new President willing to gut the FCC and its rules, or win the ongoing lawsuit against the FCC (a ruling in which is expected any day now).


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