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House to Vote on FCC Broadband Rate Regulation Blocker

The House is scheduled to vote on a Republican bill to block the FCC from using its Title II authority to regulate broadband rates, either before the fact or likely after.

Look for the vote to be contentious and the bill to be approved along party lines, as was the vote to approve the bill in the House Energy & Commerce Committee. A source says there has been no movement since that partisan, Ides of March, vote.

The bill, HR 2666, the No Rate Regulation of Broadband Internet Access Act, was sponsored by Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.).

House Dems and FCC chairman Tom Wheeler argue the bill is too broad and would sweep away FCC authority under its Open Internet rules to regulate blocking or degrading or paid prioritization, since they all implicate rates, essentially gutting the Open Internet order.

Republicans say they are simply trying to prevent rate regs, both before and after the fact.

Wheeler had initially said he supported the underlying theme of preventing broadband rate regulations, but had since clarified in a letter that he was talking specifically about Congress codifying the FCC's Open Internet order forbearance of ex ante (before the fact) rate regulations, not other authorities like preventing anti-competitive paid prioritization or throttling.

John Eggerton
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.