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US House votes to bar FCC net neut rules

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The US House of Representatives has voted to prevent the FCC's new net neutrality rules from taking effect.

As if you expected anything less.

On Tuesday, the House approved a resolution that "disapproves" (PDF) the net neut rules laid down by the FCC in December, with the vote splitting almost entirely along party lines. 241 congressmen voted in favor of the resolution – all but a handful of them Republican – and 178 voted against. Republicans have argued that the FCC does not have the authority to lay down such rules.

If the bill reaches President Obama, however, he is likely to veto it. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski helped pen the Barack Obama Technology and Innovation Plan, a campaign document that called for "the Full and Free Exchange of Information through an Open Internet and Diverse Media Outlets."

The FCC rules pushed through by Genachowski demand that internet providers divulge their "network management" practices, and prohibit providers from blocking certain types of traffic. But they apply separate regulations to wireline and wireless outfits, and they don't specifically prevent providers from charging extra for prioritized traffic. They do say, however, that such situations would "raise significant cause for concern".

The rules have been widely criticized, not only by the anti-net neut crowd but by the pro-net neuts who think the FCC hasn't gone far enough.

The House's vote to bar the rules comes a day after the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia tossed out a lawsuit from Verizon and MetroPCS that challenged the FCC's rules. ®

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