Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate introduced legislation on Monday to restore net neutrality rules that prevent broadband Internet providers from treating sites and services differently depending on their content, potentially forcing businesses to pay more for fast delivery.
The Open Internet Preservation Act, which comes almost a month after a circuit court ruling struck down the Federal Communications Commission's rules, would temporarily reinstate net neutrality, until the FCC can draft new rules that can stand up to a legal challenge, CNET reports.
The Senate bill was co-sponsored by six Democrats, including Ed Markey (Mass.), Al Franken (Minn.), and Ron Widen (Ore.). In the House, nine Democrats sponsored the bill, including Henry Waxman (Calif.), Anna Eshoo (Conn.), Frank Pallone Jr. (N.J.), Doris Matsui (Calif.), and Mike Doyle (Pa.).
"The Internet is an engine of economic growth because it has always been an open platform for competition and innovation," Waxman, the ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said in a statement. "Our bill very simply ensures that consumers can continue to access the content and applications of their choosing online."
The bills are likely to meet resistance in both chambers, as the Republican-controlled House pushed to repeal the FCC's rules before the court's ruling, and not all Democrats in the Senate feel a new bill is needed, CNET reports.
After the circuit court ruling, Netflix issued a warning about the dangers of an unregulated Internet. "In principle, a domestic ISP now can legally impede the video streams that members request from Netflix, degrading the experience we jointly provide," the company's statement read. "The motivation could be to get Netflix to pay fees to stop this degradation. Were this draconian scenario to unfold with some ISP, we would vigorously protest and encourage our members to demand the open Internet they are paying their ISP to deliver."