The Wall Street Journal: Republicans line up against FCC over net neutrality

WASHINGTON — Newly fortified Republicans in Congress are considering a number of ways to stymie the Obama administration’s planned regulations on broadband Internet providers in 2015, making Capitol Hill a new front in the fight over “net neutrality.”

Concern about the rules plays into Republican efforts to rein in what they say is regulatory overreach by the Federal Communications Commission.

Dissension over the Internet rules is so rancorous that it could end up impeding progress on technology policy areas where there is potential for agreement, such as the allocation of wireless spectrum and cybersecurity, according to telecom lobbyists and congressional aides.

The FCC spent most of 2014 drafting the new rules for how broadband Internet providers manage their networks and plans to vote on a final rule in February. Shortly after the midterm elections, President Barack Obama called on the FCC to impose the strongest possible rules on the providers by classifying broadband as a utility, which would make it subject to much greater regulation. The rules are designed to protect net neutrality — the principle that all Internet traffic should be treated equally.

Many conservatives and the broadband industry say utility-like regulation is a step too far, arguing it will stifle innovation in the industry. That view is held by some pivotal players in the new Congress, such as John Thune (R., S.D.), the incoming chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee.

An expanded version of this report appears on – Top Stories

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