WASHINGTON: Two US Senate Democrats active in Internet issues are working on a bill to restore historic “net neutrality” rules that would prevent telecommunications companies from blocking or throttling traffic or offering paid fast lanes.
Senators Edward Markey and Ron Wyden plan to introduce a bill this summer that would put broadband under the telecommunications service umbrella, meaning providers would be subject to stricter Federal Communications Commission (FCC) oversight, providing information on the matter. A source told Reuters. Representative Doris Matsui is working on a companion House version.
Markey’s office said in a statement that “it is more clear than ever that broadband Internet is an essential utility” and that the FCC’s “authority should reflect this, so it can fulfill its obligations to the public by reinstating net neutrality rules.” can accomplish.”
The Washington Post was the first to report the potential bill.
Telecom companies, also major Internet providers, have struggled with net neutrality efforts for more than a decade, while major technology firms such as Alphabet’s Inc. Google and Meta’s Facebook have strongly supported net neutrality protections.
Under former President Barack Obama, the FCC adopted net neutrality rules in 2015. They were overturned by the FCC in 2017 under former President Donald Trump. California’s legislature responded by adopting a state law requiring net neutrality in August 2018 over pending litigation.
The US broadband industry ended its legal challenge to California’s net neutrality law in May, with a group of industry associations representing major Internet providers such as AT&T Inc., Verizon Communications and Comcast Corp. rejected the legal challenge.
The FCC is split 2-2 as Joe Biden’s nominee Gigi Sohn for the final commission seat has not been approved and faces an uncertain path to confirmation.
Proponents of net neutrality rules argue that security ensures a free and open Internet. Broadband groups argue that the legal basis of regulations from the pre-Internet era is out of date and discourages investment.