Senate Approves Measure Protecting Net Neutrality

Net Neutrality graffiti on a brick wall

Net Neutrality the writing’s on the wall

The final vote was 52-47, as Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine), John Kennedy (R-Louisiana), and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) all crossed party lines to vote for the bill.

Net neutrality is the idea that the internet should be classified as a public utility.

The measure now moves to the House of Representatives, where an identical resolution, sponsored by Pennsylvania Rep. Mike Doyle, already has more than 160 co-sponsors.

"The FCC a year ago repealed rules codifying longstanding open internet principles through a strictly partisan and hurried rulemaking, marked by troubling irregularities in its public comment system". Leading up to the FCC's vote, though, many media outlets were shockingly silent on the repercussions of upending consumer protections on internet access.

For almost all of the past 10 years, the FCC has had in place rules that sought to guarantee net-neutrality protections.

Independent of the Senate action today, several states including Washington, Oregon, California and NY, have either proposed net neutrality-like legislation or sought to take legal action to nullify the FCC repeal.

The Senate has voted to kill a Federal Communications Commission rule that repealed the Obama administration's ban on internet providers blocking or slowing down certain content.

While net neutrality advocates celebrated the result, the unfortunate truth is that the vote was largely a waste of time, taking up hours of the Senate's time to achieve a result that will nearly certainly been defeated in the House of Representatives.

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"Unfortunately, the rules in the House will make passage much harder than in the Senate; at this point, it's not clear when, or if, there will be a vote there", Mozilla, a vocal net neutrality advocate, wrote in a statement following Wednesday's vote.

Fox Business and One American News Network, a decidedly pro-Trump outlet known for pushing conspiracy theories, aired full reports of the net neutrality vote. However, she said, in many places, consumers do not have multiple providers to choose from.

Vermont lawmakers passed a law requiring internet service providers that contract with the state to abide by net neutrality principles, and requesting a study of whether the state should adopt further policy changes.

"We're just going to keep operating as we have been", Nishi said.

On Wednesday, Senate Democrats-with the aid of three Republicans-voted to restore the Obama Administration's investment-killing Title II approach by discharging the FCC's most recent Net Neutrality decision using the Congressional Review Act. Chairman Wheeler's Net Neutrality is, in a nutshell, zero-price wholesale rate regulation without due process.

"This issue presents a stark contrast: Are you on the side of the large internet and cable companies, or are you on the side of the average American family", Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said.

The resolution will seek to overturn a rule voted on by the FCC in December that would eliminate most of its net-neutrality regulations.

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