The ‘Save the Internet Act’ passed the U.S. House of Representatives this week with a bipartisan vote of 232-190, but that may be as far as it gets. The bill, H.R. 1644, which would prohibit internet service providers (ISPs) from blocking, throttling, paid prioritization or other discriminatory, will meet a Republican controlled Senate disinclined to act. CTIA asks, can we compromise?
Supporters of the bill believe it will foster innovation and competition by promoting equal access to broadband and the deployment of broadband.
U.S. Representative Mike Doyle (PA-18), who sponsored, said the vote for restoring Net Neutral was a “big victory for consumers.”
FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel said the House bill “gets right what the FCC got so wrong.” The decision to roll back net neutrality protections put the FCC on the “wrong side of history, the wrong side of the law, and the wrong side of the American public.”
This bill would also empower the FCC to assist consumers with complaints against their internet service provider and fine internet service providers for violations.
No Go in the Senate
The Hill quoted Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) saying that the House Net Neutrality was “Dead on arrival in the Senate,” meaning the Senate won’t take up a net neutrality bill passed by the House.
The FCC Chairman Ajit Pai agreed, saying the ‘Save the Internet’ Act would hamstring the internet with “heavy-handed Title II regulations.”
“This legislation is a big-government solution in search of a problem. The Internet is free and open, while faster broadband is being deployed across America. This bill should not and will not become law.”
FTC Not Able to Safeguard Internet
The 2018 FCC Order repealed the Open Internet Order’s classification of broadband internet service as a telecommunications service, which returned antitrust and consumer protection jurisdiction to the Federal Trade Commission. Joseph J. Simons, FTC chairman, said the FTC differ from the FCC roles in the way it regulates the marketplace in at the Freed State Foundation’s Eleventh Annual Telecom Policy Conference in March.
“I intend to use our authority aggressively to address violations of the laws we enforce, but there are key differences between conduct prohibited by the FCC’s Open Internet Order and conduct that the FTC can reach now with our antitrust and consumer protection jurisdiction. Blocking, throttling, or paid prioritization would not be per se antitrust violations,” Simons said.
CTIA Sets Down Bipartisan Net Neutrality Blueprint
CTIA — the Wireless Association call bipartisan federal legislation should would include principles where it saw common ground between the different sides, including: no blocking of lawful traffic; no unfair throttling or other discrimination based on content; and transparency in network management practices.
“By focusing on areas of bipartisan agreement, policymakers can stop the net neutrality ping-pong that has gone on for too long,” wrote Kelly Cole, senior vice president, CTIA Government Affairs. “Federal legislation should permanently enshrine these core net neutrality principles and avoid outdated, heavy-handed regulations designed to govern monopolies.”