Net Neutrality Draft Circulated

A discussion draft of new Republican-helmed network neutrality legislation is being circulated on Capitol Hill and it would define paid prioritization, which would be disallowed, and the reasonable network management and specialized services that would be allowable.  

As advertised by its Republican co-sponsors earlier in the week, it is appears meant to achieve most of the aims of the FCC's former rules —no blocking or unreasonable discrimination— -plus guard against paid prioritization, but doing so while clarifying that Internet access is an information service —as the FCC has been treating it— rather than a telecom service subject to Title II.  

Here is the new section: ‘‘Sec. 13. Internet Openness. 8 ‘‘(a) Obligations of Broadband Internet Access Service Providers.—A person engaged in the pro vision of broadband Internet access service, insofar as such person is so engaged—12 ‘‘(1) may not block lawful content, applications, or services, subject to reasonable network manage ment; may not prohibit the use of non-harmful 16 devices, subject to reasonable network management; may not throttle lawful traffic by selectively slowing, speeding, degrading, or enhancing Internet traffic based on source, destination, or content, subject to reasonable network management; may not engage in paid prioritization; and shall publicly disclose accurate and relevant information in plain language regarding the network management practices, performance, and commercial terms of its broadband Internet access services sufficient for consumers to make informed choices regarding use of such services and for content, application, service, and device providers to develop, market, and maintain Internet offerings, except that a provider is not required to publicly disclose competitively sensitive information or information that could compromise network security or undermine the efficacy of reasonable network management practices."

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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.