California Democrat endorses Net neutrality bill

San Francisco, Calif. California Democrat Rep. Henry Waxman has formally agreed to co-sponsor the Internet Freedom Preservation Act. The bill – authored by Rep. Edward Markey – would prohibit ISPs from selectively blocking, slowing or halting Internet traffic.  

Waxman’s decision was welcomed by the Open Internet Coaltion.

“The addition of Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee Henry Waxman as a co-sponsor of H.R. 3458, the Internet Freedom Preservation Act, is a major and welcome step in Congressional support of the open Internet,” said executive director Markham Erickson. “Over the next weeks, we look forward to renewed action in both the House and Senate towards our goal of keeping the Internet open and free for speech and innovation.”

Erickson added that 2009 was “shaping up” to be a landmark year for Net neutrality.  

“At a time when economic growth is so precarious, it is critical to see action in Congress and at the FCC to codify net neutrality to spur new investment and innovation in the job-creating technology sector,” noted Erickson.

Indeed, the FCC is reportedly poised to propose new Net neutrality regulations. According to the Wall Street Journal, the revised guidelines would require all Internet providers – including wireless carriers – to follow “reasonable” network-management practice while maintaining Internet traffic.

“The FCC proposal would essentially codify its existing principles and erase any uncertainty over whether the rules apply to wireless carriers. Wireless companies have argued that net neutrality rules don’t apply to them and that they shouldn’t, since some data-heavy applications can slow their networks,” explained the Journal.