Several members of Congress are jumping into the network neutrality issue with proposed legislation.

Democratic Reps. John Conyers and Zoe Lofgren are co-sponsoring a bill that would make network neutrality violations an anti-trust issue.

Their bill follows a similar one recently introduced by Democratic Rep. Ed Markey, which similarly bars service providers from discriminating against content from any specific source but lacks the anti-trust provision.

Conyers chairs the Committee that oversees antitrust issues; Markey chairs an unrelated Subcommittee that manages telecommunications issues.

The bill proposed by Conyers and Lofgren is actually a re-submission of a bill originally introduced, but not passed, in 2006. It is known now by the same name it was given then: The Internet Freedom and Nondiscrimination Act.

The proposal bars service providers from discriminatory behavior against other content providers and prohibits blocking or impairing the transmission of content or applications, with the provision that reasonable network management practices are permissible.

The provisions echo those in Markey’s proposed bill and also conform to the network neutrality principles espoused by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

The government had not yet posted the 2008 version of the bill as of press time (search for HR 5994 here). The 2006 version of the bill can be read here.

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