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Sens. Markey, Franken Seek To Head Off Net Neutrality-Blocker

Some top Senate Democrats are urging congressional Republicans not to try and block the FCC's new network neutrality rules via a final budget agreement.

There was no such rider on the stop-gap appropriations bill that pushed off a final bill until at least Dec. 11, but it could return on a longer-term bill.

That is according to a media advisory sent out by the office of Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), who will join with Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) today (Oct. 7) to highlight what they say is a Republican push to include a rider in the budget bill.

Some Republicans have been trying to use defunding the rules implementation via the budget or other legislative maneuvers to block Title II reclassification, which they argue is an FCC pwoer grab and an innovation and investment turn-off.

Democrats see it very differently, arguing that the rules are an FCC attempt to preserve a free and open Internet and approproately respond to a court remand giving them the opportunity to restore the rules under better legal justification.

"Without this critical consumer protection, Republicans would give an unprecedented amount of power and influence to Internet Service Providers, allowing them to discriminate against their users and choose the kinds of the content they provide," said the Franken office e-mail announcing the senator's plans. "This dangerous rider and push by Congressional Republicans undermines the right of Americans to have access to a free and open internet."

That push comes only two days after cable and telco ISPs and others filed court briefs in their challenge to the FCC Open Internet order.

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.