Congress to Vote on Reversing FCC's Net Neutrality Repeal


Senate Democrats have enough support to force a vote on reversing the Federal Communications Commission's repeal of Obama-era net neutrality regulations. The effort required 30 co-sponsors to bring it to a vote.

Last month, the FCC voted along party lines to eliminate its net-neutrality rules.

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) said on Monday that she was the 30th senator to sign on to a plan to use a procedural rule to vote on a reversal of the FCC's actions. "Net neutrality is too important to the future of our democracy", Evan Greer, campaign director of Fight for the Future, said in a statement on Monday.

Internet Association president Michael Beckerman said the FCC action voted December 14 "defies the will of a bipartisan majority of Americans and fails to preserve a free and open internet".

That said, there are several examples of cases where federal USA courts have ruled the FCC does not have the power to meddle in state affairs, though these are cases which only effect that state itself.

Without those rules in place, providers will be free to block customers from accessing rival services, say, or slow down their access to Netflix, as long as they tell customers what they're doing - although the Federal Trade Commission is supposed to keep a watch out or severely anticompetitive moves.

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If net neutrality protections pass in California, we'll be a model for other states, and make it harder for Comcast, Verizon, and other big telecom companies to justify anti-consumer schemes that violate net neutrality elsewhere in the country.

The final version of Chairman Pai's rule, as expected, dismantles popular net neutrality protections for consumers. None of them are Republicans.

Morfeld said the idea of reintroducing net neutrality rules at the state level received support from across the political spectrum.

But while individual states trying to write their own net neutrality regulations is certainly an interesting topic of discussion, whether they are actually legally entitled to is another matter. "[FCC Chairman] Ajit Pai has awakened the public, now Net Neutrality is a kitchen-table issue, and the outcry is only going to get louder".

Despite the apparent public sentiment in favor of net neutrality, observers doubt whether the Republican-controlled Congress will pass Markey's bill. In the days before the FCC's vote last month, the online giants took few overt steps to voice opposition to repealing the rules.

The group, known as the Internet Association, clearly stated for the first time that these large tech companies like Microsoft, Google, and Facebook are not only against the repeal, but they will stake their well-being on overturning it.