June 10, 2008
Tracking Net Neutrality Bills in Congress
The Congress Gossip Blog (OpenCongress) predicts that one of the following three Net Neutrality bills will probably be voted on before the current session of Congress ends. The three bills represent three very different ways of enacting net neutrality protections. For bill status, an OpenCongress RSS feed link is provided.
H.R. 5353, The Internet Freedom Preservation Act [RSS feed] as introduced, would expand the scope of the FCC to respond to violations of four net neutrality principles as they arise. The four principles, as specified in the bill, are
(1) to maintain the freedom to use for lawful purposes broadband telecommunications networks, including the Internet, without unreasonable interference from or discrimination by network operators, as has been the policy and history of the Internet and the basis of user expectations since its inception;
(2) to ensure that the Internet remains a vital force in the United States economy, thereby enabling the Nation to preserve its global leadership in online commerce and technological innovation;
(3) to preserve and promote the open and interconnected nature of broadband networks that enable consumers to reach, and service providers to offer, lawful content, applications, and services of their choosing, using their selection of devices, as long as such devices do not harm the network; and
(4) to safeguard the open marketplace of ideas on the Internet by adopting and enforcing baseline protections to guard against unreasonable discriminatory favoritism for, or degradation of, content by network operators based upon its source, ownership, or destination on the Internet.
H.R.5994, The Internet Freedom and Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 [RSS feed] as introduced would amend the Clayton Antitrust Act of 1914 to prohibit discrimination by broadband network providers on the terms and conditions of service, surcharges based on content or application, blocking access to legal content, and failing to disclose all terms and conditions of their service.
S. 215, The Internet Freedom Preservation Act [RSS feed] as introducted, would amend the Communications Act of 1934 to ban discriminatory practices like blocking or hampering service based on the content being transmitted or the application being used. S. 215 would allow internet service providers to offer tiered levels of service at different prices.
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