U.S. Congressional proposal offers Internet rules of the road

“For the past decade, a debate has raged in Washington and across the country about the best way to protect an open, unfettered Internet. The increasing use of smartphones and web-connected products and services make finding the right answer more important than ever,” Senator John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee and Representative Fred Upton (R-Mich.), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, write in a Reuters opinion article. “The House of Representatives and the Senate, working together, have come up with a working proposal. We plan to begin a public discussion of it this week.”

“We need unambiguous rules of the road that protect Internet users and can help spur job creation and economic growth. The rules we propose would prohibit blocking and throttling (the selective slowing of data), and also ensure that Internet service providers could not charge a premium to prioritize content delivery,” Thune and Upton write. “The Federal Communications Commission has limited ability to establish the kind of legally sound, pro-innovation rules that consumers and developers need. One ill-fitting tool available is Title II of the Communications Act — a set of rules conceived in the Franklin D. Roosevelt era for public utilities. Policymakers, however, need updated tools written for the Internet age.”

“Using Title II could result in billions of dollars in higher government fees and taxes on consumers’ monthly broadband bills, according to a Progressive Policy Institute report. It also could extend new regulations to areas like mobile broadband without recognizing the unique challenges that mobile carriers face,” Thune and Upton write. “One near-certainty is that this approach will perpetuate years of litigation and even more uncertainty for consumers and job creators.

“Seeking a better way forward, we are working with our colleagues on both sides of the aisle to establish clear, updated and reasonable rules of the digital road to protect an open Internet,” Thune and Upton write. “We have made this an early priority of this Congress, demonstrating we can come together on a bipartisan basis to protect the vitality of the Internet — now so indispensable to our economy and way of life. Enduring, long-term protections for our digital freedoms are something we should all support.”

Full article here.

28 Comments

  1. DANGER! Any government intrusion into anything always results in disaster. We have higher phone bills because liberal do-gooders think we should all have to pay for other people tho have free phones. Our internet costs will go up too for the same dumbass reason. If we let government control the Internet, we will see our access restricted, our free speech limited, and quality will go into the toilet. Government bureaucrats can’t even balance the federal budget. How can we expect them to establish well thought out, fair and logical rules for the Internet? Be warned. There is a hidden agenda in all of this.

    1. “Any government intrusion into anything always results in disaster.”

      Wow, what an inflammatory blanket statement that could be easily disputed!

      I’m not saying you’re wrong, but a little less hyperbole is advised.

        1. Social Security worked very well for many years, and then Congress started stealing (borrowing) its funds for other projects. Index the cap on SS taxable income for inflation and it would be solvent forever. SS has never contributed one penny to any deficit. The only problem created by SS is that somehow Congress now needs to figure out how to repay the money it stole from SS. They’d prefer to cut benefits instead.

          1. no, no, no…when Congress refused to further finance Richard Nixon’s requests to payroll the Vietnam War, Tricky Dick, by executive order, transferred the protected Social Security Fund to the General Funds, thereby allowing access to those protected billions so the United States could continue its role as Earth Nanny.

        2. At last count, the space program has generated at least $5 in long-term economic benefits for every $1 put into it by government, besides providing the impetus for the semiconductor revolution.

          I will freely admit that the space program and the railroad development subsidy programs of the 19th century are likely the only two exceptions to the listed rule.

    2. i must agree there is always a hidden agenda, and while no fan of big govt. i am not so sure that big corporations are doing us any favors, internet wise. tracking our internet usage then selling that data, promising, in some cases, unlimited usage then redefining unlimited to mean something other than that, throttling speeds, and lagging behind europe in speeds – or so i recall reading sometime back.

      just out of curiosity, because i do not know the answer and perhaps someone in the know can give a good accounting….

      but how are things working in europe? where govt. intervention seems much stronger than here ?

      i have heard that in denmark, for example their speeds are much faster than here…..though i don’t know about costs etc

      any european readers around who can speak to the relative strengths of their security and access and speeds compared to american?

        1. In other words, you have nothing intelligent to say. Here’s a history lesson for you, Sparky. The original internet was composed of military and private university computers communicating with each other over a network open to the public. All comers were treated equally. Independent ISPs offered backbone connections accessible via phone modem for a monthly fee. Life was good. But soon the internet was discovered by the “Big Biznizz” clowns and it’s been all down hill since then.

          Moron? Anyone who looks around and suddenly finds themselves arguing the case for the likes of Comcast to control the internet and thinks that’s a good idea is indeed mentally deficient. Now, I suggest you return to the day room. It’s almost time for meds.

    3. Indeed. Imagine if the government no longer needed a backdoor into your computer, because they *are* the street and sidewalk through which all information passes to your home in the first place. SAY NO!

  2. ‘By creating this electronic web, we have flattened out the difference between the lone voice and the very large organized voice. We have allowed people who are not part of an organization to communicate and pool their interests and thoughts and energies together and start to act as if they were a virtual organization. What that means is, we have much more opportunity for people to get to the marketplace — not just the marketplace of commerce but the marketplace of ideas. The marketplace of publications, the marketplace of public policy. You name it. We’ve given individuals and small groups equally powerful tools to what the largest, most heavily funded organizations in the world have.’

    ‘Steve Jobs Bio: The Unauthorized Autobiography.’

      1. ‘Rational people can debate about whether technology has made the world a better place, but to me it’s not about faith in technology. It’s faith in people. Technology is nothing. What’s important is that you have a faith in people, that they’re basically good and smart, and if you give them tools, they’ll do wonderful things with them. It’s not the tools that you have faith in — tools are just tools. They work, or they don’t work. It’s people you have faith in or not.’

        ‘Steve Jobs Bio: The Unauthorized Autobiography.’

  3. The OLD Congress, having screwed up the health care system, has now moved to the NEW Congress, ready to screw up the internet! How I long for the days of the “Government Shutdown”, because when government isn’t working, it’s working!

      1. That was actually Thoreau. Here’s a real Jefferson quote “[Ours is] a government founded in the will of its citizens, and directed to no object but their happiness.” –Thomas Jefferson: Reply to North Carolina General Assembly, 1808.

        If you accept that corporations are not people (sorry Mitt), that kind of leaves citizens screwed by the current bunch of crooks. Trying to vote for straight Republicans isn’t going to fix the problem.

  4. The government does some things (mostly) right. [Oh no! One Star that guy!] National Parks need more funds but the National Park Service basically does a pretty good job. Zeek (above) reminds people that the national highway system (while needing more funds for repairs) is one of the best in the world.

    There are a number of things the government has done better than privateers could have done. Sure, it can’t be trusted in some really important things, as we have been repeatedly reminded recently. But blanket condemnation doesn’t go well either.

    “Government” is actually (supposed to be) run by people, by those elected to run it and fix it. And those are elected by regular VOTERS. Congress has the power to change things so that life is good again. If they are not doing it, the blame is not on the all powerful, ill-defined “Government,” it is on the VOTERS who consistently put a wrong group in office.

    PEOPLE are supposed to run the government, not the other way around. PEOPLE can fix it. But the WRONG people will never fix anything. VOTERS have to learn who to put into office. That does not mean throwing everyone out en masse. But until the voters themselves decide they have the power to change government, AND LEARN HOW (and who to trust to do it without gridlock), they have only themselves to blame. Why haven’t some complainers here put their boots on the table to run for office to get it fixed? No gridlock, please. Just a group working together for the good of everyone.

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