After getting a look at the net neutrality bill being sponsored by House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman, D-Calif., the Open Internet Coalition has pulled its support for the legislation. The Hill reported that though the group had been working with Congressional staff and aides as the bill developed, OIC decided Tuesday it could not support the bill. The good news for the bill's supporters: neither will the group work against the legislation.
Lack of consensus was the core problem for the OIC, members of which include Skype, Google, Facebook, Amazon and others.The various versions of the bill would affect the members of the OIC in several different ways. Writer Sara Jerome explained:
For instance, a draft bars wireless Internet providers from blocking competing services. That could help companies who compete with providers, such as Skype. But it would not keep providers from blocking offerings by non-competitors, particularly high-bandwidth ones.
Moreover, small businesses would, in large part, go completely unprotected.
According to eWEEK, the draft bill includes a provision that allows the Federal Communications Commission to impose a fine or forfeiture of up to $2 million for practices that violate the rules set out therein. It also clarifies that "reasonable network management," which wireline broadband providers are required to disclose to customers in plain language, includes
appropriate and tailored practices to reduce or mitigate the effects of congestion on a broadband Internet access provider's network; to ensure network security or integrity; to address traffic that is harmful to or unwanted by users, including premise operators, or to the provider's network, or the Internet; to meet the needs of public safety; and to provide services or capabilities to effectuate a consumer's choices, including parental controls or security capabilities.
A spokesman for Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., indicated Waxman and other supporters of the bill will have to overcome Republican opposition thereto before it will pass out of committee.