On Friday, the House voted 240-179 in favor of a resolution (HJ Res 37) of disapproval that would overturn the net neutrality rules of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that prohibit Internet service providers from blocking or slowing web sites on their networks. The resolution was largely supported by House Republicans, who believe that the FCC is overstepping its authority and hindering business with the net neutrality rules. However, net neutrality supporters, including the American Library Association, fear that repealing the net neutrality rules would allow Internet service providers to give preferential treatment to select companies.
In Maryland, votes fell along party lines with Bartlett and Harris voting in favor of the bill to overturn the net neutrality rules. Cummings, Edwards, Hoyer, Ruppersberger, Sarbanes and Van Hollen opposed the resolution.
In order for the FCC net neutrality rules to be overturned, the resolution would need to pass in the Senate and be signed by President Obama. Obama has indicated through the Office of Management and Budget that he would oppose any such measure.
Published February 24, 2011
Tags: Budget, FCC, Federal Communications Commission, FY2012, Hearing, HJ Res 37, Joint Resolution, Net Neutrality, Open Internet, SJ Res 6, Walden Amendment
Last week, a number of things happened regarding net neutrality. A District Dispatch posting provides more details and links to additional information on the following:
- Amendment to FY2012 bill passed – This amendment introduced by Senator Walden (R-OR) would prevent the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) from using federal funds to implement its net neutrality order. This amendment was included in the FY2012 bill that passed in the House and is heading to the Senate.
- Hearings held – The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, as well as the House Judiciary’s Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, Competition and the Internet, held hearings on net neutrality. Video or written documentation is now available.
- Letters of opposition – The American Library Association (ALA), Association of Research Libraries (ARL) and EDUCAUSE submitted a letter opposing any attempt to eliminate the FCC’s recent net neutrality rules. Other letters of opposition from a diverse group of organizations were also submitted and are available for viewing.
- Joint Resolution – House and Senate Republicans issued joint resolutions (SJ Res 6 and HJ Res 37) disapproving of the recent net neutrality order approved by the FCC.
It is unclear what will happen with net neutrality in the Senate.
This District Dispatch posting also includes a link to a complete list of activity in the 112th Congress dealing with net neutrality.
The American Library Association (ALA) and its allies, the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) and Educause, have sent a letter to members of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce to share their opposition to any attempts to remove the net neutrality ruling by the Federal Communication Commission (FCC). For a link to the letter, see the District Dispatch posting. The posting also includes links to written testimony of one hearing and a webcast of the other hearing.
There is movement in the House to strip the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) of its authority over the Internet and repeal the net neutrality rules that protect the Open Internet, possibly using the Congressional Review Act. Two House Committees will be holding hearings on net neutrality this week: Energy and Commerce (“Communications and Technology Subcommittee to Examine Network Neutrality and Internet Regulation” and Judiciary (“Ensuring Competition on the Internet: Net Neutrality and Antitrust”).
The American Library Association (ALA) Washington Office is currently working with its allies, the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) and Educause, to submit a letter to the House Energy & Commerce subcommittee members expressing concerns. In the future, there will be a need for grassroots advocacy. Updates will be posted, as more details become available.
Here are some sources of additional background information:
The American Library Association (ALA), with the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) and EDUCAUSE have filed comments with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on the Open Internet and net neutrality regarding “specialized services” and the application of open Internet rules to mobile Internet access services. For more information, including a link to the comments, see the District Dispatch posting.
The US Court of Appeals has ruled unanimously that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) does not have the authority to require that broadband providers give equal treatment to all Internet traffic on their networks. This decision is a setback for net neutrality and preserving an open Internet.
For more details, see the Library Journal article.