Congressional Republicans are drafting an “industry-backed proposal” to enforce net neutrality rules while preventing the Federal Communications Commission from reclassifying Internet service as a utility, The Washington Post reported today. The Republicans “appear likely to introduce legislation next month,” the report said.
If true, Internet providers and Republicans would be resigning themselves to some form of network neutrality rules being imposed on broadband service. But they would avoid the imposition of utility rules under Title II of the Communications Act, a scenario the industry fears even more.
The FCC is on track to issue network neutrality rules that prevent or limit the ability of Internet providers to block or discriminate against applications and websites. The rules would include restrictions on “fast lanes” in which online content providers could pay ISPs for preferred access. The FCC may need to use Title II to impose these rules because of a Verizon lawsuit that led to a court decision saying the FCC could not impose per se common carrier obligations without reclassifying broadband providers as common carriers.
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