Republicans on Capitol Hill don't appear any happier about the new net neutrality regulations now than they were last week, when the Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 for the new rules.
The latest GOP move against the new rules comes from Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), who this week introduced a bill that would vacate the FCC's new rules. Blackburn's “Internet Freedom Act” specifies that the FCC's net neutrality order “shall have no force or effect.” What's more, the measure prohibits the FCC from reissuing the order.
The FCC's net neutrality order bans providers from blocking or degrading traffic, and from creating online fast lanes. The order also reclassifies broadband as a utility service, which is subject to common-carrier rules.
In the weeks leading up to the FCC's historic vote, other GOP lawmakers unsuccessfully tried to muster support for a compromise measure. That middle-ground proposal would have prohibited broadband providers from blocking or degrading content, and also banned them from charging companies higher fees for faster delivery. But the measure would have stripped the FCC of some of its authority over broadband.
Blackburn's bill, which appears especially hostile to net neutrality principles, describes the new regulations as a vehicle for the federal government to “control” the Internet.
“Last week’s vote by the FCC to regulate the Internet like a 1930s era public utility is further proof that the Obama Administration will stop at nothing in their efforts to control the Internet,” she said in a statement.
“Once the federal government establishes a foothold into managing how Internet service providers run their networks they will essentially be deciding which content goes first, second, third, or not at all.”
That interpretation, which casts the rules as a tool for censorship, isn't shared by the numerous free-speech advocacy groups that supported the FCC's move. On the contrary, digital rights advocates say that the rules advance free speech by prohibiting ISPs from discriminating when putting through traffic.