For those of you who thought the FCC’s Restoring Internet Freedom Order was the last word on net neutrality, think again. Legislation has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives that would restore the main principles of net neutrality.
U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman (R– Colo) introduced the 21stCentury Internet Act, which includes the fundamentals of net neutrality – no blocking, no throttling, no paid prioritization. American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC) is concerned that without net neutrality, small businesses might lose access to an open and fair internet. The Internet Association and Vimeo supported Coffman’s measure because of its positive impact on consumer access to the internet.
“The internet has been a gathering place for people to share new ideas. Everyone had a level playing field,” John B. Minor, ASBC policy manager told AGL eDigest. “Small businesses, to grow, need access to everyone. What if, at its beginning, Google’s access to the internet had been shut down before it had a chance to reach so many consumers?” New businesses shouldn’t have to pay the ISPs for access to consumers or face prejudice if their competitor is aligned with their ISP.
Coffman’s bill is not the first net neutrality action in congress. In May, the Senate on a bipartisan basis voted to pass Sen. Edward J. Markey’s (D-Mass.) Congressional Review Act (CRA) Resolution of Disapproval, 52-47, which repealed the FCC’s 2015 Open Internet Order and reinstated Net Neutrality. The House of Representatives has until the end of the session to vote on the resolution.
“You can cross the aisle when it comes to access to the internet for both businesses and constituents. No one wants to see that change,” Minor said. “This should not be a partisan issue. Now that the internet is mature, there needs to be certain laws in place to ensure that future generations have the same experience online.”
However, U.S. House Rep. Marsha Blackburn, a Republican, introduced her own legislation last December, “The Open Internet Preservation Act,” banning blocking and throttling of internet traffic, which was not well received by the internet industry. Gizmodo’s headline read, “Don’t Fall for Marsha Blackburn’s ‘Open Internet Preservation Act.'” The Verge.com wrote. “The Republican net neutrality bill doesn’t save net neutrality.”
Internet Association President and CEO Michael Beckerman and others criticized the bill, saying it did not provide enough protections to ensure consumers access to the internet, such as bright line rules and a ban on paid prioritization.
“The internet industry supports a lasting solution that enshrines strong, enforceable net neutrality protections for consumers into law,” Beckerman said in a statement. “While Chairman Blackburn’s bill in its current form isn’t that solution, she should be commended for moving this conversation forward.”
J. Sharpe Smith
J. Sharpe Smith joined AGL in 2007 as contributing editor to the magazine and as editor of eDigest email newsletter. He has 29 years of experience writing about industrial communications, paging, cellular, small cells, DAS and towers. Previously, he worked for the Enterprise Wireless Alliance as editor of the Enterprise Wireless Magazine. Before that, he edited the Wireless Journal for CTIA and he began his wireless journalism career with Phillips Publishing, now Access Intelligence. Sharpe Smith may be contacted at: [email protected]