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house Bill H.R. 196

Should All Content On The Internet Be Treated Equally?

Argument in favor

Paid prioritization of online content would fundamentally change the way the Internet works. All web traffic should be treated equally — not based on how much (or how little) an online organization can pay.

bart's Opinion
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02/06/2015
This law is related to the "net neutrality" debate. If this law is passed it would keep it so that internet traffic cannot be prioritized over other internet traffic. The internet service providers would not be able to determine which information is prioritized. Vote yea, pass this bill.
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Stevie's Opinion
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02/25/2015
Arguments against basically say "I don't understand technology"
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02/12/2015
A free and open internet is critically important to the way we all live our lives.
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Argument opposed

The government shouldn't be able to dictate how broadband providers offer services. Restricting operations will harm the future of innovation and investment in broadband, and gives the FCC an open-ended invitation to regulate.

Michael's Opinion
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02/10/2015
Once you let the government in the door they never get out. More rules and regulations will destroy the internet. The main reason they want in is tax revenue and with that the price of your connection just went up. Keep the internet free, keep the government out!
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Robert's Opinion
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02/10/2015
We should not give up the freedoms of the internet to Government regulators. This bill is nothing more than a "trogen horse"
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EricRevell's Opinion
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02/23/2015
I'm in favor of a legislative solution, not a regulatory one. Congress can pass a law that essentially preserves the internet as it is, without giving federal agencies a wide berth to create regulations that won't receive the same level of public debate.
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on Energy and Commerce
      Communications and Technology
    IntroducedJanuary 7th, 2015

What is House Bill H.R. 196?

This bill would direct the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to create regulations prohibiting internet providers for consumers (think Comcast or Verizon) from doing either of the following:

  • Entering into an agreement with an ‘edge provider’ (providers of content like Netflix, or applications and services like Google) to give them preferential treatment or priority to their web traffic in exchange for payment.

  • Giving priority or preferential treatment to content, apps, services, or devices associated or operated by an internet provider or one of their affiliates.


These requirements would not supersede any existing obligations or authorizations for broadband providers that enable emergency communications, law enforcement, public safety, or national security issues.

Impact

EVERYONE on the Internet, broadband providers, and the FCC.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 196

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-Depth:

The debate over net neutrality — whether or not internet providers should be able to receive payment for prioritizing certain online content — will take another step towards resolution when the FCC votes in late February on a proposed net neutrality rule.


Many expect that the FCC will vote to pass a rule granting the agency much broader authority when regulating internet-providers, effectively treating them like utility companies. In the past, three previous sets of rules related to net neutrality that the FCC produced were struck down by courts.


Republicans are planning to introduce competing legislation that bans the paid prioritization of content providers on the internet, but also blocks the FCC from issuing regulations on additional subjects related to internet-providers.


Of Note:

version of this bill was introduced in the last session of Congress, but it failed to receive a vote in the House or the Senate.


Media:

Sponsoring Rep. Doris Matsui (D-CA) Press Release

IT World

The Hill (Previous version)

New York Times (Context)

Wall Street Journal (Context)

Computer World (Context)

(Photo Credit: Flickr user joestump

AKA

Online Competition and Consumer Choice Act of 2015

Official Title

To direct the Federal Communications Commission to promulgate regulations that prohibit certain preferential treatment or prioritization of Internet traffic.

    This law is related to the "net neutrality" debate. If this law is passed it would keep it so that internet traffic cannot be prioritized over other internet traffic. The internet service providers would not be able to determine which information is prioritized. Vote yea, pass this bill.
    Like (64)
    Follow
    Share
    Once you let the government in the door they never get out. More rules and regulations will destroy the internet. The main reason they want in is tax revenue and with that the price of your connection just went up. Keep the internet free, keep the government out!
    Like (8)
    Follow
    Share
    Arguments against basically say "I don't understand technology"
    Like (24)
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    Creating throttles on bandwidth by provider halts the ability of the us market to innovate. the situation has already occurred in which netflix was held for ransom until they agreed to contract negotiations in the favor of the provider of mediocre bandwidth services.
    Like (13)
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    A free and open internet is critically important to the way we all live our lives.
    Like (13)
    Follow
    Share
    I'm in favor of a legislative solution, not a regulatory one. Congress can pass a law that essentially preserves the internet as it is, without giving federal agencies a wide berth to create regulations that won't receive the same level of public debate.
    Like (7)
    Follow
    Share
    We should not give up the freedoms of the internet to Government regulators. This bill is nothing more than a "trogen horse"
    Like (7)
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    I think this is a MUCH better alternative: H. R. ____ [Discussion Draft] To amend the Communications Act of 1934 to ensure Internet openness, to prohibit blocking lawful content and non-harmful devices, to prohibit throttling data, to prohibit paid prioritization, to require transparency of network management practices, to provide that broadband shall be considered to be an information service, and to prohibit the Commission or a State commission from relying on section 706 of the Telecommuni- cations Act of 1996 as a grant of authority. http://energycommerce.house.gov/sites/republicans.energycommerce.house.gov/files/114/BILLS-114hr-PIH-OpenInternet.pdf
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    Not to mention the fact that some companies offer their services in a relatively small area. I'm looking at you Time Warner Cable! Anyway, everyone should be allowed to have the speed that they paid for and there should be no prioritisation. We are already being lied to about the amount of data that we should be using, do not make it worse. (PS: that thing about us not using the full amount of data we pay for is true.)
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    Government over regulates everything.
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    I say yea. Only under the conditions that the FCC does not regulate usage over end user usages and requirements. This must only impact inter-coorperate relations. Net neutrality is a slippery slope. Unlike railroads and highways the isps and bandwith providers invested in the lion share of innovation and infrastructure.
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    Arguments against this are absolutely absurd. To summarize for those who do not fully understand, fighting this means that Internet providers could take bribes from powerful companies to ensure faster loading times. It is not logical and it only hurts small businesses and discourage competition. Small businesses stand no chance against larger ones. If a smaller blog site was struggling to grow because a larger corporation was paying internet providers to make their website run faster then it could quite possibly lead to the near monopolization of multiple industries. This isn't helping us at all either. All websites should load at the same speed.
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    Government should stay out of it.
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    After watching the FCC begin to assert its newfound authority over the internet in the wake of the net neutrality ruling, I think we are going to regret this decision. We've been lied to by big internet companies like Google, Facebook and Netflix. They presented net neutrality as something that would protect startups and small businesses from market manipulation by larger players, but in reality they were fighting against having to pay a fair market price for their own usage. Smaller players and consumers will eventually have to foot more of the bill for infrastructure and technology improvements by ISPs. Even worse, net neutrality brings an end to the era of laissez faire internet policy by opening the doors to regulation by the FCC. Big business and the FCC presented net neutrality as freedom for the internet, but the reality is that's what we had before. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler now insists that "it makes sense to have somebody watching over their [internet companies] shoulders and ready to jump in if necessary.” This could be a huge mistake. The unregulated internet allowed amazing things and what we've done is allow the government to come in and suppress innovation. Government regulation of the internet was always inevitable, but the internet's freedom fighters had done a remarkable job of keeping it at bay. Their mistake came when they accepted the Trojan Horse of net neutrality, not expecting that the first regulations would carry the banner of internet freedom.
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    We must leave the Internet unregulated.
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    How can you keep something free by involving the FCC?????????
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    The Internet should remain unregulated
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    Broadband providers and cable companies shouldn't be able to control what their consumers see or make money this way.
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    Anything that purported to regulate the Internet should have been avoided like the plague but wasn't. The net neutrality spiel was a lie and now the FCC has got its tentacles wrapped around that one miraculous thing that has arisen organically, independent of Big Brother.
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    The Internet is one of the fastest growing education, and communication device in the States today. It should be protected under the First Amendment guarantee of Freedom of speech. Sure there is a lot of worthless crap on the internet, but attempts to censor have already created more problems than good effects. For example, AOL erasing posts with the word breasts in them. This shut dow a support group for women with breast cancer.
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