Is Congress Preparing to Move on Net Neutrality?


The FCC has had some trouble pursuing its Net neutrality agenda recently. Now, it looks as if some members of Congress may be pushing a neutrality bill of their own. House Democrats appear to be readying a Net neutrality bill for possible introduction later this week. The draft isn't public yet; according to Politico, it's currently being circulated to stakeholders. But news reports suggest that it although it would give the FCC clear authority  to enforce its four original neutrality principles, it would also give the agency far less power than it's sought in its various forays into neutrality regulation. According to The Washington Post, for example, the bill likely wouldn't implement rules giving the FCC the power to prohibit traffic management. Nor would any of the newly enforceable provisions extend to wireless data networks, which ISPs have pushed to keep free of neutrality regulations. It may even bar the FCC from going forward with its proposed shift in broadband's regulatory classification.  

In other words, it looks a lot like the Google-Verizon policy framework announced last month. And just as that proposal seemed very much like a way for two private stakeholders to take advantage of the FCC's current weakness on the issue by putting forth a jointly negotiated policy proposal of their own, this, too, reads very much as an attempt by legislators—many of whom have not been terribly thrilled with the way FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski has handled this issue—to do the same.