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House Votes to Block FCC's Net Neutrality Regulations

February 21, 2011  |  3:00pm
House Votes to Block FCC's Net Neutrality Regulations

A spending bill was approved Thursday by House Republicans that would block the Federal Communications Commission from enacting its new rules related to net neutrality.

Net Neutrality is a system designed to prohibit internet providers from charging premium rates for service or precluding access to specific content, including streaming video.

Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., introduced the amendment, which aims to stop the FCC from receiving federal funds to enforce its regulations. Republicans argue the FCC does not have the authority to regulate the internet. “The internet has grown and flourished without federal regulations because it has been able to evolve to meet rapid changes without government roadblocks holding up progress,” said Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas.

Others like Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., say, “Without oversight, market giants would be free to do as they wish even if their actions hindered the free flow of information, treated consumers unfairly, or discriminated against content creator.”

This is yet another blow to the FCC after last summer’s U.S. Court of Appeals decision that concluded the FCC doesn’t have the authority to regulate the internet. “In that case, the appeals court ruled that the FCC could not sanction Comcast for limiting its customers’ ability to download big BitTorrent video files,” writes TheWrap.

Plus, Verizon and MetroPC filed a suit in U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit that argues the FCC doesn’t have the legal backing to govern the internet, although the commission recently filed a motion to dismiss the case.

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