Republicans are hitting the brakes on net neutrality discussions planned for September 7th, citing the need for further input from tech companies and internet service providers (ISPs).
The US House Energy and Commerce Committee had requested the CEOs of numerous technology companies — including Facebook and Google – attend the special hearing to determine the future of net neutrality, but none were willing to publicly commit to attending.
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The internet remains free and open for at least another week.
Obama-era rules currently prevent ISPs from throttling content in order to promote “fast-lane” services, instead forcing them to act like utility companies – electricity providers must charge the same for your electricity usage no matter who makes the devices being powering. Without these rules streaming videos from one site might cost you more than the same kind of content from a different site.
The divide on net neutrality is becoming a partisan issue on Capitol Hill. Democrats, reportedly, aren’t willing to budge or compromise: they believe the current regulations shouldn’t be repealed.
If the FCC is left in control of regulating the internet we’re likely to lose net neutrality. But if Republicans in the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee decide to repeal regulations and pass legislation, it could mean a reprieve from the impending FCC decision.
It could also mean legislation that finally gives ISPs the legal right to pick and choose what we can see on the internet, based on which companies pay for the privilege of being on the “fast lane.”
The US House Energy and Commerce Committee has a contact page that contains its phone number and social media information.
It’s unclear what happens next but we may still have some news on September 7th in the form of another hearing date announced.
We contacted the FCC for a statement, but there’s a backlog of over 20 million comments ahead of our request.