Republicans in Congress are seeking ways to preserve the neutrality of the Internet without granting the Federal Communications Commission additional regulatory powers, The Wall Street Journal
John Thune of South Dakota, the Republican chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, has said he would propose legislation to address net neutrality without having to reclassify broadband Internet service as a utility under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934, Bloomberg
Under net neutrality, all Internet traffic is treated equally. For consumers, neutrality translates into not having to pay extra to have favorite websites reach them faster than others.
President Barack Obama wants the FCC to classify broadband services as a utility. Republicans say that would be regulatory overreach by the commission.
Republicans can be expected to take assertive stances on a variety of issues relating to the Internet.
"The regulatory tools at the FCC's disposal are outdated and its previous efforts to create rules to regulate the Internet were struck down by the courts," Thune said. "It's hard to imagine that its new attempt will escape legal challenges and avoid the kind of regulatory uncertainty that harms Internet innovation and investment," the Journal reported.
Republicans on Capitol Hill are ready to use the power of the purse to block the FCC from reclassifying the Internet. Moreover, under the Congressional Review Act, a power seldom invoked, Republicans could invalidate any FCC decision.
Such a move would likely be vetoed by the president.
The battle over net neutrality casts a shadow over related issues, including increased demand for band spectrum. Lawmakers from both parties want more spectrum made available for public use. The GOP prefers selling the airwaves to wireless carriers. Democrats prefer spectrum sharing, according to the Journal.
The two parties are also divided over whether cybersecurity regulations should be set by the FCC.
The GOP is furthermore opposed to the Obama administration's plans to turn over responsibility for Internet domain names to the international community. The Commerce Department plans to terminate the government's oversight of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. Conservatives are concerned that the Internet could become dominated by unfriendly foreign governments if the U.S. abandons its leadership role, according to the Journal.
The commission's chairman, Tom Wheeler, is expected to hear Republicans denounce expanded regulation when he testifies before Congress sometime in the coming weeks.
The FCC is expected to vote by the end of February on new rules regulating how broadband Internet providers may manage their networks, the Journal reported.
© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.