The new conservative majority in the House of Representatives moved to block the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) from implementing rules designed to prohibit broadband providers from interfering with Internet traffic on their networks.
With a 244-181 House vote on Thursday, Republicans succeeded in attaching an amendment to a sweeping spending bill that would bar the FCC from using public funding in enforce its "network neutrality" regulations.
The "net neutrality" rules, which the FCC adopted last year despite congressional disapproval, restrict cable companies from favoring or discriminating against Internet content and services.
The rules are facing both court challenges from cable providers and conservative opposition in Washington. Republicans in both chambers of Congress have introduced legislation to try to repeal the rules outright. Congressman Greg Walden or Oregon, who sponsored the spending bill amendment and chairs the House communications subcommittee, said his measure is "about keeping the government out of the business of running the Internet."
The FCC aims to preempt "paid prioritization" with its new rules which would see cable companies favoring traffic of their own providers or business partners that pay extra. Wireless carriers would also be prohibited from blocking access to websites or competing services. Both violate the business freedoms of private companies. An Internet connection is not a public service. People do not have a "right" to be online.
It was in the absence of government intervention and planning that the information and communication technology sectors in America prospered during the last two decades. America's last free market is not under threat from the FCC and its insane "neutrality" rules as well as the Justice Department which has launched antitrust investigations against major Internet companies---especially Google which has grown too big for the government's liking.