Tech giants cheer GOP lawmakers’ net neutrality moves

Congressional Republicans’ moves to write a net neutrality law are earning applause from some of the tech industry’s biggest names.

The Internet Association, which represents Facebook, Google, AOL and other industry heavyweights, said on Thursday that it “appreciates” lawmakers’ desire to ban Web service companies such as Comcast from blocking, slowing or speeding up access to certain sites.

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Importantly, the trade group noted that Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneMcConnell tees up votes on two abortion bills Senate votes to rein in Trump's power to attack Iran As many as eight GOP senators expected to vote to curb Trump's power to attack Iran MORE (R-S.D.) called for the new law to apply to Internet delivered both over a landline and wirelessly on people’s cellphones and tablets. That move would go above and beyond the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) 2010 net neutrality rules, which were tossed out by a court last year and only applied restrictions to wired broadband Internet service.

While GOP lawmakers are readying their proposal to try and preempt the FCC from reclassifying broadband Internet so that it can be regulated like a public utility, the tech companies say they’re fine either way.

“What really matters is the Internet user's online experience and the creation of strong enforceable rules to protect an open Internet,” the Internet Association said on Thursday. “As we review congressional proposals, we will continue to push the FCC to produce enforceable rules.”

“The path forward is not a binary choice, and we have a responsibility to protect a free and open Internet by working with regulators, legislators, and stakeholders."

Thune unveiled his 11 principles for a new bill late on Wednesday, ahead of a formal hearing his panel is planning next week. A similar hearing is planned for the same day in the House. The FCC is planning to vote on its rules Feb. 26.