Blackburn Reintroduces Bill Blocking FCC 'Net Rules

With the horse not quite out of the barn--the FCC has voted on new Open Internet rules but they won't be official for a couple of months at least--Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) has reintroduced a bill that would block Title II reclassification of Internet Access, or any other new net rules for that matter.

H.R. 1212, the Internet Freedom Act would state that the rules have no force, and would prohibit the FCC from issuing new network neutrality rules.

Blackburn is vice chair of the Energy & Commerce Committee.

“Last week’s vote by the FCC to regulate the Internet like a 1930s era public utility is further proof that the Obama Administration will stop at nothing in their efforts to control the Internet,” Blackburn said in reintroducing the bill. “There is nothing ‘free and open’ about this heavy-handed approach. These overreaching rules will stifle innovation, restrict freedoms, and lead to billions of dollars in new fees and taxes for American consumers."

The bill is primarily a statement, since it would almost certainly be vetoed by a President who is vocally supportive of new rules in general and Title II in particular.

The FCC voted Feb. 26 on a straight party line for rules Chairman Tom Wheeler has described as a light-touch way to insure new rules pass court muster.

But Blackburn, and many other Republicans, see it as the first step on the road to the depths of the Internet's economic degradation. “Once the federal government establishes a foothold into managing how Internet service providers run their networks they will essentially be deciding which content goes first, second, third, or not at all," says Blackburn. "

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.