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House Republicans move to block net neutrality [View All]

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Joanne98 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-07-11 03:37 PM
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House Republicans move to block net neutrality
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The toner has barely dried on the FCC's controversial net neutrality framework, and congressional Republicans are already moving to tear it apart.

U.S. Representative Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) has wasted no time once now that the new Republican-controlled House of Representatives opened for business: as her first official act of the 112th Congress, she has introduced a billThe Internet Freedom Actthat would strike down the FCCs new policy framework for net neutrality. And Blackburn isnt acting alone: she said she has the backing of more than 60 members of Congress, including the majority of the Republican members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and its new chairman, Fred Upton (R-MI).

Blackburns bill follows the FCCs framework for Internet regulation, which would prevent Internet service providers from giving preferential treatment to online sites or services, but offers a much looser framework for wireless operators, enabling mobile networks to selectively block applications, so long as its done with full transparency. The framework would also enable ISPs to create premium, high-performance network services separate from the public Internet, to which neutrality rules would not apply. The policy is intended to enshrine the heart of the FCCs original Internet freedomswhich a court found the FCC did not have the power to enforcewithout requiring Congress grant the FCC new authorities. The policy proposal has met mixed reactions: Internet operators are concerned the regulations would provide a disincentive to invest in broadband infrastructure and services, while neutrality advocates warn that ISPs could use wiggle room in the policies to discriminate against competitors or servicesespecially in the mobile arenaand that the framework might head to the creation of a two-tier Internet, with the high-performance tier essentially unregulated.

But not all in Congress believe the FCC has the authority to enforce its new policiesnor do they believe the policies are in the best interest of consumers or industry. The FCCs Christmas week Internet grab points out how important it is that we pass this bill quickly, Blackburn wrote in a statement. The only sector of our economy showing growth is online. In these times, for an unelected bureaucracy with dubious jurisdiction and missplaced motives to unilaterally regualte that growth is intolerable. The Internet is more than a communications platform with modems, fiber, and e-mail. It is a markeplace; one that should be kept free.
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