FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler
We're not done fighting for net neutrality, not by a long shot. The Federal Communications Commission saved the internet
back in February when it reclassified broadband service, but now Republicans in Congress are trying to claw it back for the telecoms
, and they're being tricky about it.
A House appropriations bill released Wednesday would block the Federal Communication Commission from implementing its net neutrality rules until the courts weigh in on the issue.
The Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill for the 2016 fiscal year includes funding for the communications regulator that falls $73 million below what the agency requested. In total, the bill grants the agency $315 million. It was introduced by the House Appropriations Committee and includes $20.2 billion in total funding for a number of agencies.
Included in the bill is a provision designed to stop implementation of the net neutrality rules until the issue has finished winding its way through the courts. It says that none of the funds in the bill can be used to "implement, administer, or enforce" the rules until three legal challenges are resolved.
They're putting this provision deep inside a spending bill where it's going to be hard to carve out, attempting to do it as stealthily as possible. That could be because they don't want the public to know that they're doing it, because they're aware that the public overwhelmingly supports net neutrality. That includes conservative Republicans
, 83 percent of whom support the concepts behind net neutrality.
Alamo Broadband, CenturyLink and the trade group U.S. Telecom all immediately sued when the FCC issued its new broadband rules, so three guesses on whose behalf Republicans are pushing this measure. The new rules are set to take effect on Friday, unless the courts intervene and block it while these cases are pending. While the courts will do what the courts will do, we need to make sure that Congress, for once, listens to us. We turned the FCC, we can turn Congress.
Stop this sneak attack against net neutrality: Demand Congress stop siding with cable companies and protect net neutrality.