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Net Neutrality is thrown a lifeline by Washington

Bipartisan support for a temporary reprieve
Tue Feb 04 2014, 16:02

SENATORS FROM BOTH SIDES of the political divide in the US have proposed a bill to protect net neutrality until the matter can be properly resolved.

The Open Internet Preservation Act of 2014 will, if passed, decree that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules enforcing the open internet will be protected in their present form until it has sufficient time to appeal the recent court ruling that it had no authority to do so based on one of its previous decisions.

Recently the US Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled in favour of Verizon's argument that the FCC had no right to prevent carriers from offering tiered priority internet services, stating that the FCC had earlier ruled that the internet is an information service, not a telecommunications service, and therefore did not have the statutory authority to regulate internet services.

Now however, politicians are seeking to ensure that regardless of the legal technicalities, Verizon will not able to change its policies.

President Obama said in a Google Hangout on Friday that providing the FCC is given the time to challenge the ruling and reclassify the internet as a telecommunications service, there is no reason that net neutrality could not ultimately be protected.

The Open Internet Bill of 2010 was designed to avoid such controversy, but it was not passed.

In the meantime, the fact that both Democrats and Republicans are in agreement to protect net neutrality with this latest bill suggests that the open internet will have another day in court. µ


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