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House net neutrality bill seeking Republican love

Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) Tuesday appeared close to a final draft for a net neutrality bill with support from key businesses and public interest groups. But he also faced the challenge of gaining Republican support as some Democrats expressed opposition, according to sources.

After much back and forth on details of legislation, Waxman’s bill would give the Federal Communications Commission two years of authority as broadband cop to enforce guidelines that exist at the agency. But its powers stop there as the agency would be prevented from making any other rules for Internet service providers. On wireless networks, a draft bill would prevent wireless carriers from blocking competing voice and video telephone-like applications (think Skype, but maybe not Slingbox), according to sources familiar with the draft bill.

Waxman, chairman of the Energy and Commerce committee, had received support Tuesday morning from broadband service providers, a coalition representing Internet firms, and some public interest groups, according to people familiar with talks.

Waxman was seeking support from key lawmakers such as ranking committee member Joe Barton (R-Tex.) and Cliff Sterns (R-Fla), ranking members of the Communications and Technology subcommittee.

Observers say those lawmakers may be willing to support a narrow legislation on net neutrality. But take a look at The Hill’s piece this morning that shows potential disagreement among the Republican party. A spokesperson for Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) told The Hill’s Sarah Jerome: “How fitting that in the last days of this Congress, Democrats would draw up a bill to regulate one of the few non-government sectors of our economy still creating jobs.”

Given the limited time left in session, observers say the bill could be introduced but a vote is unlikely. The window is closing for a vote before midterm elections and the Senate may not take it up either.

Where does that leave net neutrality? The FCC has delayed its Nov. 4 meeting until Nov. 30. It hasn’t announced its agenda for that meeting, but any vote on net neutrality rules or reclassification of broadband under the agency wouldn’t be addressed until Nov. 30 at the earliest, analysts say.

By Cecilia Kang  | September 28, 2010; 11:45 AM ET
Categories:  Broadband, FCC, Net Neutrality  
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Comments

In the end, we will have net neutrality. Because to not have it violates the constitution, stifles innovation and is anti-competitive. And eventually any bill which does not support net neutrality will be deemed unconstitutional. So why is this even an issue?

Posted by: scottburgan | September 29, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

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