House Abandons Net Neutrality Bill

Published October 8, 2010

A U.S. House of Representatives draft proposal for network neutrality legislation released September 27 was abandoned for lack of Republican support later the same week.

The proposed legislation called for the FCC to enforce rules established by Congress. Specifically, the bill would deny the commission authority to reclassify the Internet as a Title II entity under the 1934 Communications Act—FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski’s so-called Third Way proposal introduced this past summer. 

The draft, from the office of House Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman, prohibited broadband providers from blocking lawful Internet content or to “unjustly or unreasonably discriminate in transmitting lawful traffic over a consumer’s wireline broadband Internet access service.”

The legislation would have limited FCC regulatory enforcement to a case-by-case basis and set a $2 million maximum fine for violations by broadband providers found to be managing their data traffic.

The draft legislation would also ban wireless providers from blocking lawful Web content, but would allow them to manage their bandwidth. If enacted in its present state, the legislation would sunset December 31, 2012.

“It’s good to see this process being conducted in Congress—where it belongs—rather than at the authority-less FCC,” said Seton Motley, president of Less Government and editor in chief of “This despite the best efforts of the defeat-seeking missiles that are Free Press, Public Knowledge, and the rest of the Media Marxists [stumping for the FCC to impose net neutrality]. Discussing legislation—rather than unilateral unauthorized regulation—is definitely a step in the right direction.”

Bruce Edward Walker ([email protected]) is managing editor of Infotech & Telecom News.

On the Internet

“Proposed Net Neutrality Legislative Framework:”