Last week, we saw FCC repeal net neutrality protections that were put in place in 2015 and also returned broadband to a Title I classification. Lawmakers and public alike, there was an outcry of these protections being removed and a lot of frustration once the FCC voted to completely dismantle net neutrality protections. Few members of the Congress from both parties stated that legislation is the best route to handle this and would offer a more permanent solution rather than an FCC ruling.
Less than a week after the FCC vote, Republican Representative Marsha Blackburn has introduced a new net neutrality bill. Blackburn says that legislation will “settle the net neutrality debate” and hopes about its prospects in Congress. Blackburn told Variety that “This is something where the Congress should act.” She further added, “Let’s stop the ping-ponging from one FCC commission to another.”
Speaking in terms of the bill that was introduced, it doesn’t vary much from the FCC order. The bill would classify broadband as a Title I service and would allow ISPs to still practice paid prioritization. It would also keep the 2010 transparency rules reinstituted last week. The only major difference here is that it would ban blocking and throttling, that’s pretty much it.
“A lot of our innovators are saying, ‘Let’s go with things we have agreement on, and other things can be addressed later,'” Blackburn told Variety. There are some that are already speaking against Blackburn’s bill. One of those is Craig Aaron, president of the Free Press Action Fund. He called it “fake net neutrality” and in a statement said that “This cynical attempt to offer something the tiniest bit better than what the FCC did and pretend it’s a compromise is an insult to the millions who are calling on Congress to restore real net neutrality.” There are also those that have voiced support for the bill. One of those is FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly, who previously voted in favor of tearing down previous net neutrality protections.
Democratic Representative Mile Doyle said that he would also be working on legislation himself. “I will introduce legislation under the Congressional Review Act to overturn today’s order and restore net neutrality,” he said in a statement.
If you’re interested, you can read Blackburn’s proposed legislation here.