Key Dem: Make sure Web rules can pass the courts

A key House Democrat wants to make sure that new rules for Internet service providers can withstand a challenge in court.

Rep. Anna EshooAnna Georges EshooHouse Democrats probe Trump administration's funding of anti-abortion group Cuts to Medicare and Medicaid will cause overall health-care costs to rise Overnight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — FDA issues proposal to limit sales of flavored e-cigs | Trump health chief gets grilling | Divisions emerge over House drug pricing bills | Dems launch investigation into short-term health plans MORE (Calif.), the top Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Technology, seemed to warn the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Thursday against making a move that could land it back in a courtroom for years.

“We’ve been caught on the ropes for a long time,” she said during an event at the Hudson Institute.

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“I think a lot of time has been wasted. At this stage of the game ... ten years or more in the 21st century is too long on one thing,” she added.

Proponents of net neutrality — the idea that Internet service companies like Comcast or Cox should give equal access to the Internet — have said the only way to protect consumers is for the FCC to reclassify broadband Internet service under the same legal umbrella as traditional wired phone lines.

Cable companies have opposed that move and have practically guaranteed that it would lead to a long court battle.

Eshoo has said that the FCC should reclassify broadband Internet but only use one of the legal authorities it would have at its disposal. 

“Do a light regulatory approach,” she said. “I think this is the place most importantly, especially that section, that will pass muster with the court.”

The FCC is crafting new net neutrality rules after its previous ones were tossed out by a court earlier this year.