Tuesday, February 04, 2014

U.S. Democrats Fight to Restore Net Neutrality

About 3 weeks ago, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District Columbia Circuit struck down the rules passed by the FCC in late 2010, which prohibited broadband providers from selectively blocking or slowing Web traffic. Now, as of last Monday, a few Democratic lawmakers have introduced a bill in both the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives to restore net neutrality rules at the U.S. Federal Communications Commission. The new bill, called the Open Internet Preservation Act, would restore the FCC’s net neutrality, or open Internet, rules.

The bill faces quite a challenge in the House, where majority Republicans pushed to repeal the FCC’s net neutrality rules before the appeals court threw them out. "The Internet is an engine of economic growth because it has always been an open platform for competition and innovation," Waxman, senior Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said in a statement. "Our bill very simply ensures that consumers can continue to access the content and applications of their choosing online."Waxman called on the FCC to take action on net neutrality, but said the bill would "protect" consumers and innovators in the meantime.

The bill may meet a more receptive audience in the Democrat-controlled Senate. "The open nature of the Internet has made it the most successful commercial and communications medium in history," Sen. Markey (of Massachusetts) said in a statement. "The Internet’s vitality and openness drives competition, innovation and job creation and we need to ensure it remains a level playing field for consumers and innovators in the wake of the D.C. circuit court decision."