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U.S. President Barack Obama speaks to the media in the State Dining Room after meeting with BP executives about the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, at the White House in Washington, June 16, 2010. REUTERS/Larry Downing (UNITED STATES  - Tags: POLITICS DISASTER

Sen. Ed Markey (D-VA) and Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) have introduced legislation that would bring back the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) net neutrality rules. That follows a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to overturn rules the FCC had in place to force companies to treat all internet traffic equally. As of yet, the FCC hasn't acted on one of the options available to it—reclassifying internet service providers as essentially utilities, allowing the agency to oversee the industry as it does other telecommunications. In the absence of this action, Markey and Waxman are keeping up the pressure to keep the internet open.
“The Internet is an engine of economic growth because it has always been an open platform for competition and innovation,” said Waxman, the top Democrat on the Energy and Commerce Committee, in a statement.
“Our bill very simply ensures that consumers can continue to access the content and applications of their choosing online."

The Open Internet Preservation Act would restore the FCC regulations struck down by a federal appeals court earlier this month until the commission decided to take new actions on the issue.

The legislation is intended in part to keep some pressure on FCC chair Tom Wheeler to do the right thing, in imposing non-discrimination rules, preventing services providers from speeding up or slowing down some network traffic depending on its content.
Newly appointed FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has sent mixed messages on non-discrimination, but the new House bill supports the policy unequivocally. One senior hill staffer told The Verge that measure would "box Wheeler in on setting up a new system," effectively forcing the chairman to support non-discrimination or openly oppose his own party's house leadership.
The FCC still needs to act to keep the internet open. That's the point this legislation, which would protect internet users in the meantime, is making. That's also the point President Obama made in a video chat this week, when he said, "I have been a strong supporter of Net Neutrality. The new commissioner of the FCC, Tom Wheeler, whom I appointed, I know is a strong supporter of Net Neutrality." He added that there was "one good piece of news coming out of this court opinion" which is that the court "did confirm that the FCC can regulate this space. They have authority." He added, "[i]f the old systems and rulings that they had in place were not effective in preserving Net Neutrality, do they have other tools that would stand up to court scrutiny that accomplishes the same goals."

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Tue Feb 04, 2014 at 11:21 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (23+ / 0-)

    "The NSA’s capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything. [...] There would be no place to hide."--Frank Church

    by Joan McCarter on Tue Feb 04, 2014 at 11:21:40 AM PST

  •  US leadership on Net Neutrality would improve (9+ / 0-)

    the US economy in the long run aside from being in keeping with the spirit of American democracy representing The public sphere (Öffentlichkeit)

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013

    by annieli on Tue Feb 04, 2014 at 11:27:40 AM PST

  •  This tune will change, unfortunately... (4+ / 0-)

    Just wait till the ISP's figure out that all they have to do is guarantee high priority to all politician's web sites and corporate lobbyist's clients.


    I don't blame Christians. I blame Stupid. Which sadly is a much more popular religion these days.

    by detroitmechworks on Tue Feb 04, 2014 at 11:29:53 AM PST

  •  gotta give my congressperson some props... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dinotrac, cocinero, MaryKane

    even though her district is home to Facebook and google...

    Today, I introduced legislation to protect consumers and innovation online. Last month, the D.C. Circuit struck down the Federal Communications Commission's Open Internet rules preventing broadband providers from blocking or discriminating against content online. The bill would restore these rules until the FCC takes new, final action in the Open Internet proceeding.

    Anna Eshoo

    Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) is retiring next year, capping off a four-decade congressional career. Today, Eshoo announced that she is seeking to replace him as the top Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce committee, which has jurisdiction over electronic communications, cybersecurity and the Federal Communications Commission. If she gets the nod, she would leapfrog over other prominent Democrats, including Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) and Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.).


    We are not broke, we are being robbed...but we can fight back...#KosKatalogue

    by Glen The Plumber on Tue Feb 04, 2014 at 11:36:16 AM PST

  •  Um (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sen. Ed Markey (D-VA) and Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) have introduced egislation that would bring back the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) net neutrality rules.
    egislation. actually, is that educated legislation? If so, don't fix it.

    202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

    by cany on Tue Feb 04, 2014 at 11:38:21 AM PST

  •  Democrats on the side of the good guys! (0+ / 0-)

    I finally get a chance to write that.

    Woo and hoo.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Tue Feb 04, 2014 at 03:34:48 PM PST

  •  Cool so why isn't this done? (4+ / 0-)

    Obama wants it, FCC wants it, FCC has the authority to do it, so have this on my desk by Monday, thanks.

  •  another nitpick...Markey is not from VA... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    MA, maybe?

    I wish our VA senators were onboard with this...Warner at least is probably on the telecoms' side.....

    "Going to church does not make us Christians any more than stepping into our garage makes us a car." --Rev R. Neville

    by catleigh on Tue Feb 04, 2014 at 03:35:50 PM PST

  •  This might have been a "cute" issue ten years ago, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Odysseus, MaryKane

    but any non-ostrich has to admit that the internet has become an entity unto itself, a public square far too important to leave at the mercy of mere commercial, or even mere governmental interests.

    Many people around here know I am not a Demcorat, so take advantage of this opportunity to see me, all snark left at home in the snark shed, say "Way to go, Democrats."

    As for Republicans, you guys ready to dip a toe in the non-stupid end of the pool yet?

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Tue Feb 04, 2014 at 03:37:44 PM PST

  •  "That I appointed" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Odysseus, VaBreeze

    That's kind of a subtle way of saying...

    "Yo dude, WTF? Do yer job already."

    OMG, like, gag them with a multi-colored spoon. Like, ya know.

    by Jyotai on Tue Feb 04, 2014 at 03:38:02 PM PST

  •  It's still a totally dumbass, dangerous idea (5+ / 0-)

    The Internet only exists because it is NOT regulated, but the telecommunications carriers were.  Given the way FCC rulemaking works, if the Internet had needed routine approval in 1993, something like Prodigy with email might have been approved by 2000, with a $5/hour rate.  But the FCC instead had good rules, notably Computer II, which disinguished between basic services provided by telecom carriers and the "enhanced" services that are provided over them.

    Network Neutrality was a term coined in 2005 when the FCC revoked the Computer II rules, allowing DSL providers to discontinue the telecom portion of their service to their ISP competitors.  Instead of being able to choose Earthlink or Speakeasy across your Verizon DSL, you had a choice of Verizon.  Or not DSL.  They had already closed fiber.  And cable had never been open, as cable companies had never offered high-speed data as telecommunications.  The cable part was always a tough call, though, and there are material differences today that could justify a different call.

    Instead of fixing the problem (no choice of ISP), NN rules regulate the Internet service itself.  This is NOT the way it works in most countries; everywhere else requires open networks, so there are any ISPs to choose from, and the market determines what ISPs provide and at what price. ISPs are technically content; they're newspapers, not the post office.  But because they're vertically integrated now, people are calling for all newspapers to be Fair and Balanced, rather than having a post office that anyone can use.  It is the wrong approach, and if actually implemented, service on the Internet would likely get much worse, as the tools needed to keep it running would become subject to challenge.  TCP/IP is not a stable system.  Imagine a one-cylinder unicycle carrying freight.  Now tie the rider's hands. That's NN.

    The right answer is to open the physical networks to competition. This is what the law already calls for.  The recent DC Circuit decision was correct.  Section 706 does not convey any real authority.  But the FCC could reclassify the basic transport of bits as telecommunications (Title II), and thus open the networks to real competition. The DC Circuit in its 81-page opinion (and yes I read the whole thing) spoke highly of the Computer II rules and found the current classification to be suspect.

  •  I'm going to miss Henry Waxman. n/t (0+ / 0-)

    Warren is neither a Clintonesque triangulator nor an Obamaesque conciliator. She is a throwback to a more combative progressive tradition, and her candidacy is a test of whether that approach can still appeal to voters.-J. Toobin "New Yorker"

    by chuck utzman on Tue Feb 04, 2014 at 04:20:37 PM PST

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