“21st Century Internet Act” Introduced in Congress

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If enacted, the legislation proposed by Republican Congressman Mike Coffman of Colorado will codify into federal law “four corners” of net neutrality, while creating a new title for broadband services under the Communications Act of 1934. Enhanced protections for both consumers and broadband businesses are also included.
The four corners prevent ISPs from: 1) blocking, 2) throttling, and 3) engaging in paid prioritization arrangements, while 4) leaving the FCC with oversight of interconnection of traffic exchange points between long-haul, backbone providers and the last mile services provided by ISPs. Specialized (dedicated) network access for businesses are not affected. ISPs may not charge access fees to edge providers to avoid blocking or throttling, but they may provide reasonable network management functions.
In establishing a new title for broadband, Representative Coffman found that the FCC had failed to provide the regulatory certainty that the U.S. economy needs, by “endlessly reclassifying broadband access between Titles One and Two under the Telecommunications Act.” While this is somewhat hyperbolic, he had nevertheless asked Chairman Pai to delay the vote on the FCC’s recently enacted, and very controversial, Restoring Internet Freedom Order.
The FCC, of course, went ahead and passed its controversial order as scheduled. But Chairman Pai acknowledged in his letter of response that “Congress should work toward a permanent legislative solution to address this issue.” With this legislation, they have taken his suggestion seriously.
It will be interesting, though, to see how much agreement there really is between Republicans and Democrats on the whole net neutrality issue, or whether this will turn into yet another nasty screaming and name-calling battle in our presently uncompromising political process.