Shifting Politics Of Net Neutrality Debate Ahead Of FCC. Vote

by Jonathan Weisman, The New York Times

pipe maze

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WASHINGTON — Last November, when President Obama proposed strict rules to prevent broadband companies from blocking or intentionally slowing down the web, Republicans pounced on what they called yet another heavy-handed liberal proposal. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas pronounced the regulations “Obamacare for the Internet.”

But what was, on the surface, a simple fight over big government versus small has put Republicans in the awkward position of aligning themselves with the cable giants, among the most maligned industries in the country, against the sad Netflix viewer waiting for “House of Cards” to break through its “buffering” vortex.

In the intervening weeks, politics on the so-called net neutrality issue have shifted so much that House and Senate Republicans are circulating legislation that would ostensibly do exactly what the president wants: ban the blocking or “throttling” of web traffic and prohibit the creation of paid “fast lanes” for Internet content providers willing to pay for faster delivery.

But it would also prohibit the Federal Communications Commission from issuing regulations to achieve those goals — the approach favored by the Obama administration and most Internet companies.

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