Setback for Net Neutrality

Feb 18, 2011

While the world remains focused on the Middle East where the Internet has been used to organize historic protests in the name of universal freedoms, House lawmakers voted Thursday night to prevent the Federal Communications Commission from implementing new rules that would maintain an open and even flow of traffic over the Internet.

The rules, known as network neutrality, would affect such companies as AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast, because they own the networks over which the Internet often flows. Republican lawmakers oppose the new regulations, arguing that they are an intrusion by the federal government into the private marketplace. On Wednesday, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski faced heavy criticism from a House panel about the policy.
House lawmakers approved an amendment to a wider spending bill that prohibits funds included in the bill from being used by the FCC to implement the network neutrality regulations. According to the Wall Street Journal, the vote is the only way the Republican-controlled House could prevent the policy from taking effect. If the defunding effort fails, however, Republicans are pursuing a second route to try to block the FCC's open-Internet order. Rep. Walden (R-OR) and other Republicans in both the House and the Senate introduced on Wednesday a resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act, which would give lawmakers a limited amount of time to try to block the FCC's net-neutrality rules.
Read  more from Josh Silver, President of Free Press, in his article for The Huffington Post, where he frames the vote in context with the other planned spending cuts to public radio and television.

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Tags: net neutrality, internet freedom, regulation

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