ArsTechnica - Democrats try to reinstate net neutrality rules struck down by court
February 6, 2014
In The News
"This bill ensures that consumers, not their ISP, are in the driver’s seat."
By Jon Brodkin
US Reps. Henry Waxman and Anna Eshoo (both D-CA) submitted legislation today to reinstate the net neutrality rules recently struck down by a court decision.
Rules preventing Internet service providers from blocking or discriminating against content were vacated last month because the Federal Communications Commission did not properly justify its authority to implement them. The FCC could implement the rules from its Open Internet Order again by reclassifying Internet providers as common carriers, but in the meantime, the regulations are not in place.
The Open Internet Preservation Act proposed by Waxman and Eshoo, both members of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, would put those rules back in effect "until the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) takes new final action in the Open Internet proceeding," a bill description says.
A similar bill will be introduced in the Senate by Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA).
“With the recent DC Circuit appeals court ruling, the open Internet as we know it suffered a blow," Eshoo said in an announcement. "By striking down rules that prevented broadband providers from discriminating against or even blocking online content, the Court’s decision threatens the openness and freedom that has defined the success of the Internet. Although the Court struck down the FCC’s ‘no-blocking’ and ‘nondiscrimination’ rules, it explicitly affirmed the agency’s authority to oversee broadband services in the United States. I’m introducing legislation today to reinstate the FCC’s open Internet rules until the Commission adopts replacement rules. This bill ensures that consumers, not their Internet service provider, are in the driver’s seat when it comes to their online experience."
Passage of the bill is probably unlikely. The House is controlled by Republicans, who generally were pleased by the court's decision. The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled in favor of Verizon, which challenged the FCC's authority to prevent ISPs from blocking websites or charging content providers for network access.
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has promised to take some action but hasn't said what he intends to propose.