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Republican net neutrality bill allows 'reasonable' network management

Grant Gross | Jan. 19, 2015
Draft net neutrality legislation released Friday by Republican leaders in the U.S. Congress would prohibit broadband providers from blocking or selectively slowing legal Web content, but it would allow them to engage in "reasonable" network management.

The draft proposal's prohibition against a net neutrality rule-making proceeding at the FCC may be the biggest of several problems, Bergmayer added. The proposal would require the FCC to act on net neutrality complaints filed by consumers or companies, and it's unclear whether the FCC could set precedent by acting on a complaint, he said.

If a consumer brings a complaint to the FCC and wins, "is that practice now considered illegal in general for everyone?" he said. "Or, every time something happens that you don't like, are you back at square one?"

Still, Public Knowledge is heartened to see movement on net neutrality issues from top congressional Republicans, many of whom opposed any net neutrality rules in recent years, Bergmayer said. The draft bill comes from Upton, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Senator John Thune, a South Dakota Republican and chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.

"This goes much further than anything we would have expected to see, particularly from congressional Republicans just a year ago," Bergmayer said. "It does show that there is some consensus that something has to be done to protect consumers."

Both committees have hearings on the draft bill scheduled for next Wednesday.

 

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