Democrats in the U.S. House and Senate announced a bill to restore net neutrality protections on Wednesday.
“We all believe very strongly in the promise and necessity of a free and open internet,” said Rep. Mike Doyle. The Pittsburgh Democrat chairs the House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology. “Net neutrality is one of the most important digital-rights issues we face today, and the internet is among the most influential important inventions ever created.”
Net neutrality is the idea that all internet content and users should be treated equally by internet services providers (ISPs). Supporters of neutrality legislation want regulations they believe would stop broadband companies from slowing down, blocking or prioritizing certain content or users over others. Critics counter that the rules would discourage investment in ISPs and create burdensome regulations.
Doyle, who House Speaker Nancy Pelosi applauded for his “relentless leadership” on the issue, said there is strong support for net neutrality.
“People understand that their ISPs have far too much control over their connection to the internet and the services that they care about," he said during a press conference. "So whether it’s slowing down Netflix, blocking access to innovative mobile services ... the track record for ISPs on this issue is clear.”
The text of the bill hasn’t been published yet. But it will be called the Save the Internet Act, and is intended to restore net neutrality protections that were put in place under the Obama administration in 2015.
In June 2018, the FCC repealed those rules, saying the agency had no legal authority to regulate these companies. Democrats tried to overrule the repeal last year. The resolution passed in the Senate but never made it through the House, which was in Republican hands at the time.
The new legislation “will enact true net neutrality protections by codifying the FCC’s 2015 open internet order as a new, freestanding section of law,” Doyle said.
Three House Republicans -- Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR), Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), and Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH) -- have already introduced bills that would restore net neutrality to varying degrees.
At the Wednesday announcement, Speaker Pelosi said Rep. Doyle begin hearings on the bill next week.