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Congress Has Proposed New Bills to Restore Net Neutrality

This week bills have been proposed in both the US Senate and House to restore Net Neutrality. The bills will also prevent the FCC from ever again reversing the 2015 Net Neutrality rules.

Since the FCC switched internet services from Title II utilities status to a Title I utilities status the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has been in charge of regulating internet providers. This bill would force the FCC to regulate the internet in the same way it regulates TV for example.

The old Net Neutrality rules were first introduced in 2015 and in 2018 the current FCC voted to switch internet services back from a FCC regulated utility to a FTC regulated utility.

Some states have tried to pass Net Neutrality bills. California was one of these but now the Department of Justice is suing California saying their new net neutrality law breaks federal law.

California’s new net neutrality law prohibits slowing down or blocking access to content and a ban on zero rating. The zero-rating ban would be the harshest net neutrality rule yet imposed—even the FCC did not ban zero rating on wireless carriers. This would put an end, for example, to AT&T’s unlimited data if you use DIRECTV NOW.

U.S. Attorney General at the time Jeff Sessions said in a statement that “states do not regulate interstate commerce — the federal government does. Once again the California legislature has enacted an extreme and illegal state law attempting to frustrate federal policy.”

The DOJ is not the only ones moving to stop this new law. As you would expect, large internet service providers, like AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast, oppose the California Net Neutrality law. While they say they still support the basic idea of net neutrality, they argue for bans on things like zero rating and paid priority. Look for them to try to challenge this new law in court before it takes effect later this year.

For now, this bill has only just been proposed. It will likely be sometime before the house and senate even take it up for a vote.

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