Blackburn Introduces House Bill To Block Net Neutrality

Add Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) to the legislators trying to block the FCC's proposed net neutrality rulemaking.

Blackburn has introduced a House version of the billintroduced last week by Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) that would block the FCC from passing any regulations "regarding the Internet or IP-enabled services."

She argues the FCC would be making the Internet less neutral by regulating it "in the same way it regulates radio and television broadcasts." Blackburn said the FCC has plenty to keep it busy regulating those media. "[L]et's not add to their workload by giving them authority over the Internet," she said in announcing the bill.

"As conceived by the FCC, network neutrality is counterproductive," said Blackburn spokesman Claude Chafin. "It hurts the Internet and specifically for us, our constituent interest, is that it enables piracy by not allowing service providers to discriminate between sites that are transferring files illegally and those that are not."

But FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said in introducing the proposal, which would add nondiscrimination and transparency principles to the FCC's current four Internet freedoms, then codify them, that the protections would not extent to pirated content?

"We have had such a great history of bureaucratic creep and promises not being fulfilled and we don't see the pressing need to take a functioning marketplace and regulate it for the sake of regulation."

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Tex.), ranking member of the Senate Commerce Committee threatened to introduced a bill that would have blocked funding to any net neutrality regulations, but said she will first vet the FCC's decision before deciding whether or not to proceed ( That decision came after FCC staffers reached out to her to discuss her concerns.

Those include that the proposal could be a disincentive to the private investment that will be necessary to build out broadband.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.