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.
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