Republican Representative Mike Coffman introduced a bill that would turn the basic principles of net neutrality into law earlier this week, having debuted it in the form of The 21st Century Internet Act. The legislation is based on the 2015 Open Internet order from the Federal Communications Commission under the former Obama administration which is now generally supported by both sides of the political spectrum on Capitol Hill. The order in question is even supported by a number of Internet providers in the United States in the context of serving as a basis for an “Internet Bill of Rights,” which is how AT&T previously referred to a federal bill instating net neutrality.
The 2015 move prevented broadband and wireless service providers from blocking and throttling certain content on the World Wide Web, in addition to banning paid prioritization. The Capitol Hill initiative for a federal intervention regarding the issue of net neutrality was started by the Democratic minority but now also received support from Rep. Coffman. The congressman previously demanded the FCC to delay its December vote on whether to repeal the 2015 net neutrality protections until stateside legislators were given enough time to draft a framework that would regulate the industry in its place but was ignored by the agency headed by Chairman Ajit Pai. The FCC hence voted to repeal net neutrality protections in mid-December as part of a controversial move that prompted an immediate response from Rep. Coffman who vowed to draft a replacement act and is now seemingly delivering on that promise.
The telecom industry primarily opposed the 2015 order because ISPs wanted to avoid being labeled as utility providers, and while many of them so far said they aren’t against the idea of codifying the principles of the open Internet, they still opposed having paid prioritization outlawed, something that a bill based on the 2015 order would still do. With the August recess in the house starting next week, the newly introduced bill won’t be able to make any progress in the Congress until fall.