Fight for net neutrality isn’t over yet

Lawmakers are working on legislative versions of net neutrality rules, but the Republican and Democratic plans differ

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (NEXTAR) – The fight over net neutrality is far from over.

Nearly a month after the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to repeal net neutrality rules, some lawmakers are working to put them back in place.

Previously, internet providers had to treat all web traffic equally, saying they could not block or slow content. The FCC overturned the rules, however, saying they were too burdensome and curbed investment.

Democratic lawmakers like Senator Tammy Duckworth said the move hurts small businesses.

“They will not be able to compete. They will be crushed by the large corporations,” Duckworth said.

Duckworth is one of 40 Democratic senators who signed onto a bill that would overturn the FCC’s decision.

“What this does, is take away competition — take away free access to the marketplace,” Duckworth said.

Ohio Republican Congressman Steve Stivers is co-sponsoring a separate bill that would write some of the net neutrality rules into law.

“This is a middle-of-the-road approach that makes sure the egregious things are outlawed,” Stivers said.

The bill would ban providers from throttling or blocking content, but it would still allow what’s called “paid prioritization.”

“If a company wants to pay to speed you up and make it even faster for you, they can do that. If Netflix wants to pay Comcast to run a cable between Comcast and Netflix, that’d be considered paid prioritization,” he said.

Stivers said allowing paid prioritization will encourage companies to invest in internet infrastructure — like broadband access — while still protecting consumers.

The Internet Association, which represents technology companies like Facebook and Amazon, has been fighting for net neutrality. In a statement, the group said the Republican bill does not go far enough.

While Duckworth and the other Democratic senators have 40 co-sponsors for their bill, it’s unlikely that it will pass the Senate.


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