Rather than a set of rules that can be changed regularly by the FCC, Congress may soon vote on a new bill that would set net neutrality down as a matter of law. Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO) recently introduces the “21st Century Internet Act,” which would ban blocking, throttling and paid prioritization, while eliminating all questions of jurisdiction.
The bill would modify the Communications Act of 1934 (greatly built upon by the 1996 Telecommunications Act) and add new stipulations specific to internet providers. Rather than debating whether the FCC has authority to write the rules or not, and then quibbling over the rules themselves, the act codifies the rules as law and sets the FCC as the official watchdog.
"The fight to keep the internet open belongs in Congress, not at the Federal Communications Commission"
"The fight to keep the internet open belongs in Congress, not at the Federal Communications Commission," he said in a statement. "The American people deserve to know that their elected officials, not unelected bureaucrats, are fighting for their interest. That fight begins with my bill, which will create an ‘internet constitution’ with the foundational elements of net neutrality."
IN short, the bill would put to rest the question of whether the FCC wants to have net neutrality rules or not — net neutrality would be the law and it would be the Commission’s job to enforce it.
Some are praising the bill, including Vimeo and the National Association of Realtors. Critics believe broadband providers will oppose the bill saying they've pledged to follow the rules voluntarily.
We will continue to monitor the bill. Subscribe to our newsletters to learn more.
On Dec. 14, 2017, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), led by Republican Chairman Ajit Pai, voted to repeal regulation passed in 2015 that prevented broadband companies from blocking or slowing access to websites or services. The move was met with opposition from consumers and tech companies, and now, individual states are responding with their own legislation in response.
What has happened since the regulation has been repealed?
To learn more about how the repeal of the law or the proposed bills may affect you and your business, contact a Simplified agent today.
You’ve probably heard and read about “net neutrality” more in recent weeks. That’s because the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has been considering rescinding net neutrality regulations that require Internet service providers (ISPs) to treat all legal Internet data the same, regardless of where it comes from or who it is going to.
One way to think of net neutrality is like an on-ramp to the Internet, where ISPs can’t interfere with where users want to go. Under current, Obama-era net neutrality regulations, ISPs are not allowed to slow down websites or applications, such as those of their competitors. If the FCC rolls back those regulations, some warn that the result could be an Internet that operates very differently from what we experience today.
For example, ISPs could offer streaming services like Netflix or YouTube the opportunity to pay to reach users at faster speeds during certain times of the day. Or, customers who use certain subscribers, like AT&T or Comcast, would get faster connections to websites like HBO or Facebook, for instance.
Proponents of net neutrality regulations also argue that, without regulations, the U.S. Internet will operate like it does in countries such as Guatemala, for example. There, mobile plans allow users to only access certain apps without cutting into their data plans. In response, residents often have two SIM cards, one that allows them to access Facebook for free, and on another that provides free access to WhatsApp. Once users’ data is used, sites like Facebook and WhatsApp are still accessible, but not the rest of the internet. When users try to access other websites or apps, they are prompted to pay more.
Proponents of rolling back regulations argue that fewer regulations would result in ISPs making investments that would provide better and faster online access. Whatever the FCC decides, both sides on the net neutrality debate acknowledge that users’ Internet experiences will be affected.
To find out more about how you could be saving on your Internet service plan, contact Simplified.
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