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December 30, 2014

Republicans Expected to Attack FCC Net Neutrality Plans in January: Report

Republicans are planning to flex their muscles next year to put a stop to the Federal Communications Commission’s Net neutrality plans.

Republicans, who will have a majority in both the U.S. House and Senate by next month, want to prevent the FCC from imposing public utility regulations on broadband providers — a move that is endorsed by U.S. President Barrack Obama.

Senate Commerce Committee chairman Sen. John Thune, is suspected to be actively crafting a bill to hamper any Net neutrality rules that would enforce public utility regulations, according to a Politico report.

Thune is “very interested in finding a legislative solution to protect the open internet, especially if it means keeping the FCC from imposing public utility regulations,” a spokeswoman told Politico.

Thune is not the only senator with plans in place to thwart the FCC’s rules.

Rep. Bob Goodlatte, chair of the House Judiciary Committee, has said he is also considering legislation, but his goal is to weaken the “FCC’s net neutrality authority by shifting it to antitrust enforcers,” according to the Politico report.

Many Republicans have said federal regulation of the Internet is the wrong move.

Rep. Marsha Blackburn said such a move would “restrict our online freedom and leave Americans facing the same horrors that they have experienced with”

Democrats, however, say such sentiments are nonsense and are concerned that a lack of federal regulation could result in broadband providers implementing “fast lanes” for streaming video providers willing to fork over enough cash.

Also at issue is the Republican plan to update the Communications Act, which the FCC adheres to in its regulation of cable, wireless, and phone companies.

While it is true the Communications Act has not received an overhaul since the mid-1990s, Democrats are warning against linking changes to the act to Net neutrality.

Those warnings seem to be falling on deaf ears, however.

Thune’s spokeswoman said “the most straightforward approach would be for Congress to update and modernize those laws to take into account technological transformations while not discouraging the private-sector investment and innovation that is critical for consumers and our nation’s modern economy.”

The political posturing over Net neutrality is likely to begin in earnest come January.

To read Obama’s plan — which the FCC is expected to adhere to — click here.


Jennifer Cowan is the Managing Editor for SiteProNews.