Commentary

Lawmakers Unveil Last-Ditch Effort To Block Net Neutrality Rules

Seems like some lawmakers really don't care for the new net neutrality rules. Today, in what advocacy group Free Press calls a “sneak attack” on the regulations, the House Appropriations Committee released a funding bill that would prohibit the agency from enforcing the rules until a court has ruled on their validity. The measure also would slice the FCC's budget by $25 million.

The FCC's open Internet order, which is slated to take effect on Friday, reclassifies broadband as a utility service and imposes some common carrier rules on broadband providers. Specifically, the rules prohibit carriers from blocking or degrading traffic and from charging companies extra fees for faster delivery of their material. The regulations also include a broad “general conduct” provision that prohibits broadband carriers from impeding consumers and content companies from reaching each other.

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AT&T, Century Link and trade groups representing carriers recently sued the FCC in hopes of vacating the rules.

The carriers also are asking the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to stay the FCC's reclassification of broadband pending appeal, but aren't asking to delay the prohibitions against blocking, degrading or paid prioritization. It's worth noting that the House measure goes further than the carriers requested, because it would force the FCC to hold off on enforcing even the prohibitions against blocking and degrading content.

Free Press is urging people to contact Congress to oppose the bill. “This is a devious way for cable and phone companies to get the same delays they’re seeking in court without even waiting for the court to make that call,” the group says. “And worse, they’re trying to push this through inside a huge funding bill, hoping no one will notice.”

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