Congressional Democrats are preparing to restart their fight to restore net neutrality, according to a new report from The Washington Post on Monday. Lawmakers in both the House and Senate are expected to introduce a new bill in the coming weeks that will codify Obama-era internet rules.
The Net Neutrality and Broadband Justice Act — spearheaded by Ed Markey (D-MA) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) who have championed Internet lawyers in the Senate for many years — would reclassify broadband as a Title II telecommunications service. This would give the Federal Communications Commission new enforcement powers over the Internet, including the power to set rules against throttling, blocking or paid prioritization.
“It’s clearer than ever that broadband internet is an essential utility,” a Markey spokesperson said The edge on Monday. “Senator Markey firmly believes that the Federal Communications Commission authority must reflect that so that it can fulfill its obligations to the public by restoring net neutrality rules, protecting consumers and taking other critical steps to ensure a just digital future.” to create.”
Markey’s office declined to comment on the senator’s specific plans for the bill.
Lawmakers could introduce the bill as early as August, a well-known source said The edge on Monday. The move would restore the FCC’s authority over broadband and allow the agency to investigate consumer complaints and roll out new rules to promote broadband competition and close the digital divide, the source said.
In 2017, the Trump FCC, led by former chairman Ajit Pai, rolled back the net neutrality provisions enacted under the former administration. The rules prohibited broadband providers from restricting and blocking certain lanes and from offering paid high-speed lanes for specific services. Since Trump’s inversion, Congressional Democrats have vowed to permanently codify net neutrality.
Last summer, President Joe Biden signed a sweeping executive order to boost competition in several sectors, including telecommunications. Specifically, the order called for the FCC to restore net neutrality, but the agency has yet to act on that request. Since Biden took office last year, the FCC has stalled at 2-2. Gigi Sohn, Biden’s candidate to gain the Democratic majority to approve net neutrality, has stalled in the Senate.
Without a Democratic majority from the FCC, Markey’s net neutrality bill could be the Biden administration’s only means of restoring open internet regulation. In June, Politics reported that Senate Democrats had received enough votes to push Sohn through with their wafer-thin majority, but the vote never came. Shortly before the vote was due, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) fell and fractured his hip, requiring surgery, leaving him unable to cast his necessary vote.