SAN JOSE (KCBS/AP) – House Republicans have taken a step towards tossing out the net neutrality rules passed by the Federal Communications Commission in December.

The Republican majority on the House Commerce Subcommittee voted 15 – 8 to repeal the new FCC rules that bar telephone and cable companies from interfering with Internet traffic on their broadband networks by blocking users from visiting particular sites.

The measure still needs a vote by the full Energy and Commerce Committee vote, where it is not expected to succeed. And President Obama, who supports the FCC rules, would have to sign it.

San Jose Democratic Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren said an open Internet is essential for high tech innovation.

“The startups that have developed into successful economic enterprises in Silicon Valley would’ve just been crushed in their infancy if net neutrality had not been the rule of the land,” she said.

KCBS’ Matt Bigler Reports:

The rules are intended to keep phone and cable companies from using their control over broadband connections to dictate where their subscribers go and what they do online.

For example, they bar broadband providers from favoring or discriminating against Internet services like Skype and Web video services like Netflix that could compete with the broadband companies’ core phone and cable operations.

“If the corporate world had the ability to dictate what Websites you got to see, the Internet would be a very different experience than what we have today,” said Lofgren.

Republicans counter they are trying to limit overregulation of the Internet.

Even if the Republican effort in Congress fails, there are court challenges. Verizon and MetroPCS have sued in federal court to overturn the net neutrality rules.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services may have contributed to this report.)


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