WASHINGTON — Republican members of the US Senate and House of Representatives are seeking to quash rules approved by US telecom regulators designed to ensure an open Internet.
The five-member Federal Communications Commission (FCC), in a vote split on party lines, agreed in December to the rules aimed at safeguarding “network neutrality,” the principle that lawful Web traffic should be treated equally.
Supporters have argued that the rules are needed to ensure an open Internet but opponents have decried them as unnecessary government intervention.
Republicans in the Senate and House formally introduced a matching “resolution of disapproval” on Wednesday seeking to reverse the rules.
House majority leader Eric Cantor, a Republican from Virginia, said the resolution is intended to “debunk the FCC’s harmful and partisan plan to regulate the Internet.”
“From the Internet’s inception we have taken a hands-off approach,” added Representative Greg Walden, a Republican from Oregon.
“The Internet did not become the explosive driver of communications and economic growth it is today until we turned it over to free enterprise,” Walden said. “Changing direction now will only harm innovation and the economy.”
US carrier Verizon Communications filed a legal challenge to the FCC’s rules last month, calling them an “assertion of broad authority for sweeping new regulation of broadband networks and the Internet itself.”
The rules are a balancing act by the FCC between support for consumers and the cable and telephone companies that are the US Internet service providers.
The FCC drafted the rules after suffering a legal setback in April when a court ruled that it had not been granted the authority by Congress to regulate the network management practices of Internet service providers.