Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) has introduced HR4682, the Open Internet Preservation Act, in the House of Representatives, along with 21 co-sponsors.

The bill, which was referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce near the end of December, seeks to "amend the Communications Act of 1934 to ensure internet openness, to prohibit blocking of lawful content, applications, services, and non-harmful devices, to prohibit impairment or degradation of lawful internet traffic, to limit the authority of the Federal Communications Commission and to preempt State law with respect to internet openness obligations, to provide that broadband internet access service shall be considered to be an information service, and for other purposes."

This legislation begins to address the growing threat by corporate giants, not just broadband services that are seeking to eliminate anything by the state-controlled message to the masses rather than allowing the internet to be a free flow of information.

“The Open Internet Preservation Act will ensure the internet is a free and open space,” said Rep. Blackburn, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Communications and Technology Subcommittee.

“This legislation is simple, it provides light-touch regulation so companies can invest and innovate, and makes sure our internet is up to 21st century standards,” she added.

Blackburn's bill was introduced on December 19, 2017 and came just one week after the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) repealed the 2015 Title II regulations under the Communications Act of 1934, the so-called net neutrality rules.

The repealed regulations classified broadband internet as a utility-like tool for communication. It will now be categorized as an information service, which is what it is.

However, the repeal removes bans on throttling, blocking and paid prioritization, as well as on how much data companies would have to report.

So, Rep. Blackburn’s bill would seek to restore some of those newly adopted regulations, but not all of them.

Among the things HR 4682 would restore are two provisions of the net neutrality.  It bans both blocking and throttling while not including a ban on paid prioritization.

Blackburn sought to block the implementation of Net Neutrality in several congresses she served in.

In the 112th, 113th and 114th Congress, Blackburn introduced the Internet Freedom Act, legislation that would block the FCC’s Net Neutrality rules by stating that they shall have no force or effect and prohibits the FCC from reissuing new Net Neutrality rules.

In 2016, the Senate introduced a companion to Blackburn’s bill, S. 2602. The bill was introduced by Senator Mike Lee (R-UT). Co-sponsors included Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Rand Paul (R-KY), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Thom Tillis (R-NC), John Cornyn (R-TX), and Benjamin Sasse (R-NE).

“We must stop the FCC’s Net Neutrality rules, which are nothing more than a Trojan horse for government takeover of the Internet," rep. Blackburn said.  "These overreaching rules will stifle innovation, restrict freedoms, and lead to billions of dollars in new fees and taxes for American consumers. We thank Senator Lee for introducing the Senate version and look forward to working with him as we move this forward."

“The economic burden of these regulations will fall squarely on the backs of the consumers the FCC purports to help," Senator Lee said.  "The threat of anticompetitive behavior should always be taken seriously. But it makes no sense for a five-person panel of presidential appointees to write a sweeping law aimed at solving a problem that might someday exist. There are more effective, more democratic, and less intrusive ways to address anticompetitive behavior, including existing antitrust and consumer-protection laws."

Blackburn commended Ajit Pai for his getting net neutrality rules repealed and said that he "had done his job."

Rep. Stivers, who co-sponsored the bill, said of the legislation, “Bottom line: Free and open internet should never be a partisan issue.  This bill would put into law crucial consumer protections that millions of Americans have asked for and that are emphasized in the principles of net neutrality.”

He added that the bill did just that “without imposing the burdensome and overly broad aspects that were originally designed for the rotary telephone on the cultural and economic engine that is our modern internet.”

The fight for a free and fair internet is possibly the biggest fight of the century.  If you wish to voice support for this legislation, please contact your representative or senator today!

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