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While both parties are interested in regulations that would modulate internet service providers' ability to block, or lag certain content on their networks, the division remains on how exactly to prevent that type of web discrimination.
Tensions surrounding the net neutrality debate in the United States continue, as Republican legislators strongly criticized the Save the Internet Act authored by U.S. Representative Mike Doyle (D-Pennsylvania).
The bill has been called "extreme" by GOP lawmakers and pointed to the unlikelihood of it being passed through the Republican-majority Senate. In fact, Representative Bob Latta, who is also on the House Energy and Commerce technology subcommittee, said it "has no chance of even passing the Senate or being signed into law."
The purpose of the bill, sponsored by Democrats, is to restore regulations on the broadband industry that were enacted during the Obama administration. The bill includes the return of the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) 2015 Open Internet Order. Republicans and Democrats have long debated the FCC's authority over net neutrality enforcement, with Democrats favoring the commission's position.
If the bill were to pass, the broadcast industry would be subjected to much more rigid regulations enforced by the commission.
Republicans have countered the action by proposing a set of bills that would reintroduce some net neutrality regulations without classifying the broadband industry as a telecommunications service under Title II of the Communications Act. Democrats refute this option, saying it is too lenient on internet service providers. Republicans claim that Title II can be pushed to the extent of giving the government the ability to determine the prices that can be set by broadband providers.
Despite the Republicans' firm stance and threats to kill the bill in the Senate, Representative Doyle assures that Democrats are willing to negotiate with Republicans, adding that the GOP did not inform Democrats about their counter-proposal before the hearing. The Pennsylvania Democrat explained that, in the future, he hopes that Republicans would, "sit down and get in touch with us before you drop bills."
While both parties are interested in regulations that would modulate internet service providers' ability to block, or lag certain websites and content on their networks, the division remains on how exactly to prevent that type of web discrimination.