House Dems Still Seeking Support For Net Neutrality Bill

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According to sources, House Energy & Commerce Committee chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) Tuesday continued to work on lining up a bipartisan consensus for a network neutrality bill that would give the Federal Communications Commission sufficient authority to enforce open Internet principles to satisfy key Democrats.

Crucially, it also would foreclose the Title II reclassification proposal that is a total nonstarter for industry.

The bill would clarify that the FCC has the authority to expand and codify network openness principles, subject to reasonable network management, but would not apply all of them to wireless broadband. The FCC would also be authorized to enforce the principles on a case-by-case basis.

ISPs are said to suppot the language in the draft bill, but some open Internet advocates are likely to oppose anything short of reclassification.

It was looking as if a bill could be introduced Wednesday, though that would provide scant time for any action before a lame duck session as legislators are trying to exit by the end of this week to campaign.

It is possible a bill could pass on unanimous consent in the House, but that is likely as far as it could go before the elections, and even that is a long shot.

A Commerce Committee spokesperson had not returned a call by press time.

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