First GOP Congressman signs onto net neutrality bill

Doris Richards
July 19, 2018

Internet users demand strong protections that prevent ISPs from censoring us, throttling our connections, or jacking up fees for no reason.

Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Co.) said on Tuesday he would back the movement in Congress to restore net neutrality rules, becoming the first Republican in the House of Representatives to sign onto an effort that would overturn the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) vote to rescind them a year ago. The bill seeks to "permanently codify" into law the four main tenants of net neutrality - no paid prioritization, no website blocking, no throttling, and federal oversight of "interconnection".

"The fight to keep the internet open belongs in Congress, not at the Federal Communications Commission", said Representative Coffman. And while the Senate voted 52 to 47 back in May to reverse the FCC's attack on net neutrality, companion efforts to set up a similar vote in the House have, as expected, had a hard time gaining traction thanks to ISP lobbying influence.

For a vote to proceed in the House, the petition needs 218 signatures.

While supporting the Democrat-led petition, Coffman is mainly focusing on a new bill that intends to amend the 1934 Telecommunications Act that adds a new Title VIII.

Public Knowledge said that Coffman's bill "may need more refinement" in order to fully protect consumers.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said in June the rollback will ensure more internet provider investment and "better, faster, and cheaper Internet access and more broadband competition to the American people". But advocacy groups that support net neutrality praised Coffman for becoming the first House Republican to sign the petition.

"I applaud this bipartisan momentum that is building in the House of Representative for my CRA resolution to restore net neutrality rules", he said in a statement.

Coffman also introduced legislation on Tuesday to put numerous tenets of the FCC's former rules into law.

These open Internet protections should have never been taken away in the first place.

Coffman says he sees repealing the rollback as a way to force Congress' hand on legislating net neutrality. Still, we respect the good faith effort that Mr. Coffman has made and are committed to working with him to improve the bill. "I hope more Republicans will join this effort and stand on the side of American families who rely on and overwhelmingly support a free and open internet".

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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