Senate to vote on repealing net neutrality rule changes

17 May, 2018, 05:01 | Author: Billie Castillo
  • Sammi Le Master helps to dismantle a large alarm clock display that reads

A resolution to restore the FCC's net neutrality rules passed the Senate on Wednesday, giving Democrats a victory on what they see as a potent issue going into the 2018 midterms.

"In the months since the FCC voted to repeal the net neutrality rules, the American people have raised their voices to tell their representatives in Congress to save those online protections, and have sent over 16 million emails and over 1 million calls to Congress".

The agency past year eliminated Obama-era rules forbidding internet service providers from blocking or slow web traffic. Edward Markey (D-Mass.), who sponsored the measure. We owe this win to the over 400,000 ACLU activists and hundreds of thousands of other activists across the country who are fighting for a free and open internet.

The last-ditch effort comes just weeks before June 11, the date designated by the FCC as the end of rules on net neutrality, the idea that all material on the internet should be treated equally and access should not be restricted or favored by internet providers in any way.

The FCC voted in December to repeal Obama-era protections.

Supporters of the FCC repeal believe the new "light touch" rules set to take effect next month offer more choice for consumers, allowing them to pay for more tailored internet packages to meet their needs. While it seems unlikely if that would happen, the Senate's vote is a strong indication of the pushback by Americans in different states that led to today's vote. The FCC also repealed the regulatory underpinning for the rules, in which internet service was classified as a common carrier. We can not let internet providers block or slow down internet traffic and force us to pay more for popular sites.

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In order to force this vote, the Democrats used the Congressional Review Act, or CRA, which enables Congress to repeal federal rules and regulations issued by government agencies using a simple majority vote rather than the normal 60 vote requirement.

The Senate resolution would overturn a vote by the agency in December to scuttle its open-internet regulations. Charles Schumer (D-NY) said before the official vote.

The margin was larger than expected with three Republicans voting with 47 Democrats and two independents to reverse the Trump administration action.

Senator Ed Markey, the Massachusetts Democrat who introduced Wednesday's resolution, said during debate on the Senate floor that the measure would guarantee "no slowing down certain websites, no blocking websites, and no charging you more to exercise your 21st century right to access the internet".

Comcast Corp, Verizon Communications Inc, and AT&T Inc have pledged to not block or discriminate against legal content after the net neutrality rules expire.

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