Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO) today announced his support for a bill that would institute the basic outlines of the FCC’s 2015 Open Internet order, which banned the throttling and blocking of content as well as harmful paid prioritization practices. He is also the first Republican to sign on to the Democrat-led discharge petition, which aims to force a vote on the House floor to roll back the FCC’s December decision to repeal net neutrality. The Verge reports:
The 21st Century Internet Act aims to restructure the current framework by which the internet has been governed since the ’90s. Coffman’s bill moves past this argument by amending the 1934 Telecommunications Act and adding the new Title VIII. This new classification would “permanently codify into law the ‘four corners’ of net neutrality” by banning providers from controlling traffic quality and speed and forbidding them from participating in paid prioritization programs or charging access fees from edge providers.
On top of providing stable ground for net neutrality rules to be upheld in the future, the legislation also makes it illegal for providers to participate in “unfair or deceptive acts or practices.” It directs the FCC to investigate claims of anticompetitive behavior on behalf of consumers after receiving their complaints. Transparency requirements are heightened for providers as well, as companies must publicly disclose information regarding their network practices to allow consumers to “make informed choices regarding use of such services.”