Republican strategy is to paint Net neutrality as government ‘control’ of Internet
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) introduced a bill in the Senate on Thursday that would effectively allow Internet service providers to slow down or block Internet content or applications of their choosing.
The move came the same day as the federal government decided to move forward on an official Net neutrality policy that would prevent ISPs from making those types of decisions.
The FCC’s new rules would prevent ISPs, for example, from blocking or slowing bandwidth-hogging Web traffic such as streaming video or other applications that put a strain on their networks or from charging different rates to users.
McCain’s bill, the Internet Freedom Act, would block the Federal Communications Commission from making Net neutrality the law of the land. The rule preventing ISPs from slowing down certain types of content would create “onerous federal regulation,” McCain argued in a written statement
According to a report at NetworkWorld, McCain “called the proposed Net neutrality rules a ‘government takeover’ of the Internet that will stifle innovation and depress an ‘already anemic’ job market in the US.”
But supporters of Net neutrality argue that the rule is needed to ensure that Internet providers don’t censor content, or slow down traffic to Web sites that are in competition with their business allies.
FCC chairman Julius Genachowski argued that “reasonable and enforceable rules of the road” were needed “to preserve a free and open Internet.”
“The Internet’s openness has allowed entrepreneurs and innovators, small and large, to create countless applications and services without having to seek permission from anyone,” he said.
But, the FCC chairman said, there have been “some significant situations where broadband providers have degraded the data streams of popular lawful services and blocked consumer access to lawful applications.”
Two Republicans on the FCC also voted on Thursday to go ahead with the rule-making process, which will be open for public comment until January 14, but voiced misgivings about the plan.