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House votes to block FCC from regulating broadband prices

H.R. 2666 targets an important provision in the FCC's open internet rules.
Billy Steele
04.15.16 in Business
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In its guidelines for an open internet, the FCC gave itself the ability to regulate what internet customers in the US will pay for service by classifying broadband as a utility. The US House of Representatives is looking to take that power way, and today voted to pass H.R 2666, or "No Rate Regulation of Broadband Internet Access Act." The bill has drawn criticism from both politicians and open-internet supporters for being vaguely worded and that it could allow service providers to sue the FCC for unrelated enforcement actions (like fines). President Obama already said he'll veto the legislation if it arrives on his desk.

"There is no authority or need for the federal government to regulate the Internet," Speaker of the House Paul Ryan explained. "This initiative blocks unelected bureaucrats in Washington from dictating how people use the Internet."

The bill is seen by many as the latest Republican effort to undermine the tenets of net neutrality. If you'll recall, the FCC established the set of rules to protect consumers against policies like throttling and allowing companies to pay more for so-called fast lanes. FCC chairman Tom Wheeler has already promised not to use the power to tell internet companies what they can charge. However, members of Congress worry that the provision would allow the commission to fine a service provider if it decided their pricing structure was unfair.

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