As the June 12, 2015 effective date of the FCC’s Open Internet Order approaches, the possibility of a legislative net neutrality solution remains. Senate Commerce Committee Chairman, John Thune (R-SD) and Ranking Member, Bill Nelson (D-FL) are reportedly continuing to engage in negotiations to craft rules designed to protect the open Internet and define the appropriate role for government oversight. Such legislation presumably would codify net neutrality protections, while avoiding the FCC’s reclassification of broadband Internet access service from an “information service” to a Title II “telecommunications service.”
In January, Thune, together with House Commerce Committee Chairman, Fred Upton (R-MI) and Communications Subcommittee Chairman, Greg Walden (R-OR) circulated a draft bill with provisions prohibiting Internet providers from blocking online content, throttling traffic, or offering paid prioritization. It also included limitations on the FCC’s regulation of the Internet. The draft bill failed to garner support from Democrats, who opted to wait for the FCC to act and have since signaled that they are content with the FCC’s Order.