House Votes to Block Funding for Net Neutrality Rules

By Beecher Tuttle February 18, 2011

The Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives passed an amendment on Thursday that could prevent the Federal Communications Commission from enforcing the recently-created net neutrality rules for service providers.

The House essentially killed the regulations late Thursday night by approving an amendment to its annual funding bill that says that no money will be allocated to the FCC to implement the rules.

Created last December, net neutrality rules, among other things, prohibit services providers like AT&T, Verizon and Comcast from discriminating against certain forms of content that flow over their networks.

The GOP has heavily criticized the FCC for crafting the rules, noting that they will interfere with growth in the private sector and represent a federal government that is too heavy-handed, according to the Wall Street Journal.

"For some reason, the FCC has decided to overstep its bounds and apply 19th Century regulations to a 21st Century network," Rep. Cliff Stearns (R., Fla.) said during the debate.

House Democrats fought to keep funding for net neutrality rules, noting that they are necessary to make sure that the Internet is set up as a level playing field.

“Without some clear rules of the road, large companies can carve up the Internet into fast and slow lanes, charging a toll for content and blocking innovators from entering the information superhighway,” said Representative Anna Eshoo (D, CA).

While the vote is certainly bad news for net neutrality supporters, the issue is far from resolved. The spending bill, which includes the amendment, will now head to the Democrat-controlled Senate for approval. The Journal reported earlier that Senate Democrats are not on board with the amendment, which means the debate is far from over.

Congress will need to pass a new spending bill by Mar. 4, meaning Republicans and Democrats only have about two weeks to settle their differences.

Beecher Tuttle is a TechZone360 contributor. He has extensive experience writing and editing for print publications and online news websites. He has specialized in a variety of industries, including health care technology, politics and education. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Tammy Wolf

TechZone360 Contributor

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