A bill designed to ensure net neutrality has been killed after a lack of support from US Republicans.
The bill was proposed by Henry Waxman, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and would have handed regulation of the internet to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which has already stated net neutrality as a goal.
The legislation would also have curbed paid preferred access by ISPs, stopped mobile internet providers blocking sites, and ensured that broadband providers were transparent in their dealings with customers.
"This initiative was predicated on going forward only if we had full bipartisan support in our Committee," said Waxman in a statement.
"We included the Republican staff in our deliberations, and made clear that we were prepared to introduce our compromise legislation if we received the backing of Ranking Member Barton and Ranking Member Stearns.
"With great regret, I must report that Ranking Member Barton has informed me that support for this legislation will not be forthcoming at this time."
Joe Barton, ranking member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, confirmed that his party will block the legislation because its introduction had been too rushed and could harm job creation.
"It is not appropriate to give the FCC authority to regulate the internet. This is not a solution for the future of the internet," he said.
"America should be about preserving the vibrant and competitive free market that exists for the internet and other interactive computer services, unfettered by federal or state regulation."
The news has been greeted with dismay by net neutrality advocates.
"Waxman's bill would have created an important safety net to prevent the broadband internet access landscape from being Balkanised by anti-competitive pay walls and discriminatory technology barriers that block or degrade communications," said Dr Mark Cooper, director of research at the Consumer Federation of America.
"We hope that the FCC will now move aggressively to re-establish jurisdiction to implement all of the public interest principles of the Communications Act that have served the nation well for more than three quarters of a century."
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