House Dems Still Seeking Support For Net Neutrality Bill

According to sources, House Energy & Commerce
Committee Chair Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) Tuesday continued to work on lining up
a bipartisan consensus for a network neutrality bill that would give the
FCC sufficient authority to enforce open Internet principles to
satisfy key Democrats, while foreclosing the Title II reclassification proposal
that is a total nonstarter for industry.

The bill would clarify that the FCC has the
authority to expand and codify network openness principles, subject to reasonable
network management, but would not apply all of them to wireless broadband. The
FCC would also be authorized to enforce the principles on a
case-by-case basis.

ISPs are said to be supportive of the
language in the draft bill, but some open Internet advocates are likely to
oppose anything short of reclassification.

It was looking like a bill could be introduced
Wednesday, though that would provide scant time for any action before
a lame duck session as legislators are trying to exit by the end of this week
to campaign.

It is possible a bill could pass on unanimous
consent in the House, but that is likely as far as it could go before
the elections, and even that is a long shot.

A Commerce Committee spokesperson had not returned
a call for comment at press time.

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.