Democrats in Congress are fighting to keep the Internet open.
The bills are seen as a stopgap measure until the Federal Communications Committee has the opportunity to make a final action in response to a decision in a Washington D.C. court last month that overturned net neutrality. The court ruled that the FCC does not have the authority to dictate to wireless carriers -- including the plaintiff, Verizon -- what they can charge to whom and when.
“Net neutrality” is also often called “open internet” and advocates argue that no government or company can regulate the flow of the internet. The fear is that, without net neutrality protections, large service providers will give preferential treatment to larger companies that can pay more. Smaller companies that don’t have as much money won’t be able to pay for premium Internet service, putting them at a disadvantage.
Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) introduced the bill in the House and the sister bill introduced in the Senate was brought by Ed Markey (D-Mass.).
“The Internet is an engine of economic growth because it has always been an open platform for competition and innovation,” said Waxman, in a written statement. “The FCC can and must quickly exercise the authorities the D.C. Circuit recognized to reinstate the Open Internet rules. Our bill makes clear that consumers and innovators will be protected in the interim.”