H.R. 2372 - Internet Protection Act

Title.  Internet Protection Act.

Sponsors.  Rep Rick White (R WA).  Cosponsors: Boucher (D-VA), Chris Cox (R-CA), Lazio, Mike Oxley (R-OH), Billy Tauzin (R-LA), Rep. Barton.

Summary.  HR 2372 IH would amend the Telecommunications Act of 1934 to prohibit the Federal Communications Commission from regulating the Internet.  The key language provides that nothing  "shall be construed to grant authority to the Commission with respect to (A) the rates, charges, practices, classifications, facilities, or services for or in connection with the provision of Internet information services to customers; (B) technical specifications or standards for the provision of Internet information services; or (C) any other regulation of the provision of Internet information services."  (See, 231(b)(1).)  It also prohibits states from doing what the FCC cannot do.  (See, 231(b)(2).)  The policy underlying the bill is to "rely on private initiative and to avoid ... government restriction ..."  (See, 231(a).)

The bill protects the Internet, and provides a broad definition of Internet.  It covers not only the "internet", but also "interactive computer services".   (Both terms are defined in the Telecom Act of 1996, at 47 USC 230).  In addition, the scope covers access to and access software for the internet and interactive computer services.  (See, 231(e)&(f).)

However, the bill contains several significant exceptions and limitations.  The first pertains to certain universal access matters.  Similarly the bill would not restrict anything "necessary to protect national security or network reliability, or assist law enforcement" (including CALEA).  (See, 231(b)(3).)  Nor would the bill extend to "provision of video programming directly to subscribers." 

Finally the bill address deregulatory leverage.  (See, 231(c).)

Status.  This bill was referred to the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the House Commerce Committee.  No action was taken on this bill in the 106th Congress.

History with Links to Documents, Stories, and other Materials.