House Republicans propose budget that would prevent FCC from implementing net neutrality rules

The U.S. House introduced three amendments to a must-pass appropriations bill that would block the FCC from enforcing its new Open Internet (net neutrality) rules that are set to go into effect on Friday.

The Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill for fiscal 2016, which will be reviewed in a subcommittee meeting today, includes $315 million for the FCC's budget--a figure that's lower than the fiscal year 2015 enacted level and $73 million less than what the regulator requested.

According to a release on the new bill, a provision of the bill prohibits "the Federal Communications Commission from implementing a net-neutrality order."

A number of large telcos, including AT&T (NYSE: T) and CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL) have filed lawsuits to overturn the FCC's new rules, and have asked a federal appeals court for a stay that would prevent the regulator's new rules from being put into action until a final judgment on the issue is ruled upon. The appeals court has not ruled on the petition for a stay.

Congress' move has drawn fire from a number of advocacy groups, including Fight for the Future.

"Congress doesn't get it. Millions of Americans fought for net neutrality, and they won," said Fight for the Future campaign director Evan Greer, in a release. "It's time for the cable companies to stop looking for favors from Washington and actually focus on providing the thing their customers want: faster, more reliable service."

In order to be enacted, a prohibition on the net neutrality rules would have to pass votes in the House and Senate, and approval by President Obama, a supporter of the FCC's new rules.

While service providers support the rules of preventing blocking or throttling traffic, or prioritizing content in exchange for payment, they are opposed to the FCC's move to reclassify service providers under Title II of the Communications Act.

What's been interesting to watch in recent weeks is the number of the large telcos and cable operators, including AT&T, Comcast and Verizon striking new interconnection deals with competitive Internet providers such as Cogent and Level 3.

Cogent signed a new interconnection deal with AT&T yesterday as the FCC's rules get closer to taking effect.

For more:
- ars technica has this article

Related articles:
CenturyLink sues the FCC over net neutrality rules
Senator Nelson: We can't put a straightjacket on the FCC
Google Fiber's Medin: Net neutrality doesn't promote broadband competition
USTelecom refiles lawsuit against FCC over net neutrality rules

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