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Net Neutrality Bill to Be Marked Up This Week

The bill to restore FCC net neutrality rules will be marked up in full committee April 3.

That is according to the House Energy & Commerce Committee Democrats, who proposed the bill and passed it out of Subcommittee last week over the objections of Republicans.

The bill, the Save the Internet Act (HR 1644), would reinstate the Title II-based rules against blocking, throttling and paid prioritization, as well as a "general conduct standard" that lets the FCC regulate other conduct that does not fall within those three categories.

Related: D.C. Stakeholders Square Off Over Net Neutrality Bill Markup

Those rules were rolled back by the FCC's Republican Majority in the Restoring Internet Freedom order.

The Democrats say their bill is as a way to "ensure consumers can make informed decisions when shopping for internet plans and restore the FCC’s authority to fund broadband access and deployment, particularly for rural communities and struggling Americans."

Democrats have called the bill a common sense restoration of a net neutrality cop on the beat and called the Republicans to get on board. Republicans instead see it as a Title II club the very existence of which could threaten ISP investment and innovation.

In essence it would restore the 2015 Open Internet order adopted under FCC chair Tom Wheeler. It is sponsored by Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Pa.), chairman of the Communications Subcommittee.

He tried to nullify the Restoring Internet Freedom order and restore the Wheeler rules last Congress with a Congressional Review Act resolution that passed the Senate but got nowhere in the House. The current bill is expected to pass the Democrat-controlled House, but likely not the Senate, which remains in Republican hands.

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.