More than a decade ago, Internet service providers such as Comcast and Verizon were trying to get customers to upgrade to faster and more affordable Internet connections.
Now, however, many companies are finding themselves unable to do so as they are fighting to retain customers.
The Hill reports that Comcast and Time Warner Cable are facing court cases and other regulatory battles that could force the companies to abandon their plans to offer Internet and phone services over the traditional cable or satellite transmission lines.
In many cases, Comcast and T-Mobile are suing state and federal officials to force them to stop selling broadband services to residents of certain states, which could ultimately affect the nation’s broadband deployment.
The bill currently before the Senate Judiciary Committee, the Stop Online Piracy Act, would require ISPs to retain customer information for five years and to remove content that is illegally uploaded or downloaded without permission.
The company’s latest attempt to fight back against the bill is to file a lawsuit against the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), a civil rights organization that is challenging the legislation in federal court.
In a blog post Friday, the ACLU said the bill “is a blatant attempt to take away a free, open, and transparent marketplace.”
“The American people are being forced to choose between the safety of their online privacy, or the convenience of a fast and reliable Internet,” the organization said in the post.
“This bill would give Internet service companies unprecedented power to regulate Internet use and restrict free speech online.”
The bill would also require ISPs such as AT&T and Verizon to block websites that are not owned or operated by the company.
The ACLU also said the law could force ISPs to block or throttle traffic to certain websites.
The Senate Judiciary committee voted along party lines to hold a hearing on the bill last week, which was expected to include representatives from both companies.
However, the legislation was defeated on a vote of 13-3 on Thursday.
The legislation was written by Republican Senator Orrin Hatch, who has been a vocal opponent of Internet regulation.
It was initially introduced as a “net neutrality” bill but was ultimately watered down by the GOP leadership after Hatch opposed its broad language, according to The Hill.