A draft net neutrality legislation that would have stripped the FCC of its Title II reclassification option died after failing to win Republican support, Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), head of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said yesterday.
The bill died after ranking committee members Joe Barton (R-Texas) and Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) refused to support the proposal, which forbade the FCC from reclassifying broadband Internet services for two years but allowed the agency to fine companies for violating open Internet rules outlined in the bill.
“We need to break the deadlock on net neutrality so that we can focus on building the most open and robust Internet possible,” Waxman said in a statement. “If our efforts to find bipartisan consensus fail, the FCC should move forward under Title II.”
Barton called Waxman’s legislation a “tacit admission that the FCC is going down the wrong path.”
“It is not appropriate to give the FCC authority to regulate the Internet,” Barton said in a statement. “If the Congress wants to prevent the FCC reclassifying Internet service under Title II, it should go ahead and do so without qualification.”
Stearns could not be reached for comment by press time.
Net neutrality has been a top priority for FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski but the issue stalled on a court decision limiting the agency’s ability to enforce open Internet rules. Since then, the FCC has struggled to find a work-around to the ruling amid heavy lobbying by consumer advocates and broadband Internet service providers.
Filed Under: Industry regulations