“U.S. congressional Republicans on Friday proposed legislation that would set ‘net neutrality’ rules for broadband providers, aiming to head off tougher regulations backed by the Obama administration,” Alina Selyukh reports for Reuters. “Lawmakers hope to counter the Federal Communications Commission’s vote on Feb. 26 for rules that are expected to follow the legal path endorsed by President Barack Obama, which Internet service providers (ISPs) and Republicans say would unnecessarily burden the industry with regulation.”

“At stake is what rules should govern how ISPs manage web traffic on their networks to ensure they treat all Internet content fairly. At the heart of the latest phase in the debate over the rules is what legal authority should guide regulations,” Selyukh reports. “Net neutrality activists, now with Obama’s backing, have advocated for regulation of ISPs under a section of communications law known as Title II, which would treat them more like public utilities. The draft legislation from Senate Commerce Chairman John Thune and House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton seeks to set new net neutrality rules, such as bans on data throttling and paid prioritization, but without resorting to the Title II regime.”

“The Republican bill would ban blocking or slowing some downloads, unless required for reasonable network management, but would also restrict the FCC from expanding its authority over ISPs beyond enforcing existing rules,” Selyukh reports. “The House and Senate commerce committees will hold net neutrality hearings on Jan. 21.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews readers too numerous to mention individually for the heads up.]

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