The US House of Representatives voted on Friday to overturn regulations aimed at preserving the Internet as a free and open platform of communication. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) [official website] approved the regulations last year [JURIST report], which prevent Internet providers from selectively blocking web access. The House voted 240-179 [Reuters report] in favor of a resolution that blocks the regulations. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) [official website] applauded the passage [statement] as "an important step" for House republicans:
These regulations give the government unwarranted authority to control broadband networks which ultimately will hinder a thriving industry, harm competition and stifle innovation...The passage of this resolution is part of House Republicans' pro-growth agenda to give business people in this county the chance to grow, innovate and compete so that people can get back to work.House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) [official website] criticized the resolution [statement], stating that it "will not become law" and that it hinders competition amongst service providers and revokes "basic consumer protections."
On Monday, the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit [official website] granted a motion by the FCC to dismiss [JURIST report] a challenge to the new net neutrality rules. The court dismissed the appeal for improper timing because the challenged rulemaking document has yet to be published in the Federal Register [official website]. The challenges were filed by Verizon and MetroPCS [JURIST reports] in January out of concern over the broad authority the regulations would grant to the FCC. A previous court ruling found that the FCC lacks the power to enforce net neutrality [JURIST report]. Net neutrality is thought by supporters to be essential to the goal of an open flow of information over the Internet regardless of the amount of revenue generated by the information.