Senate passes bill to reinstate net neutrality

NYT License N  A Created 2018:02:27 11:20:49

While the majority of Democrats are for retaining net neutrality and Republicans err more towards repealing the rules, the issue is not totally clear-cut across party lines and general consumer sentiment in the states is also moving against the FCC. John Boozman, R-Ark., said in a written statement. The FCC repeal initially went into effect on April 23, 2018, but nobody felt the real effect of it all.

The Senate approved a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution that would undo the Federal Communications Commission's vote to deregulate the broadband industry.

Republicans insist they, too, believe in net neutrality, but want to safeguard it by crafting forward-looking legislation rather than reimposing an outdated regulatory structure. At least one Republican senator, Lisa Murkowski, remained undecided. A consortium of tech companies from Etsy to IAC, which operates Tinder and OKCupid, have banded together to create a campaign called "Red Alert", which supports the congressional vote and other efforts to preserve net neutrality. After several delays, the repeal is now set to go into effect on June 11th.

The exceptional triumph for Democrats is definitely short lived with a homogenous resolution anticipated to terminate in the house where Republicans have prodigious majority. The CTIA, USTelecom and the NCTA earlier sent a joint letter to senators asking them to vote against the measure.

Net neutrality rules, enacted under fomer President Barack Obama, prevented internet service providers like Comcast and Verizon from forcing customers to pay extra to access certain websites, or slowing down traffic speeds to certain websites.

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The regulations are strongly supported by liberals and online companies including Amazon, Netflix, Facebook and Google, and dozens of smaller Web-based companies. Critics, including the Trump administration, said overregulation was stifling innovation, and they backed the FCC's move, which is still set to take effect next month.

Polls have shown strong public backing for Net neutrality. While the Republican party still controls Congress and a measure like this would not have made it to a vote, the CRA allows senators to force a vote if 30 signatures are obtained. It is, as Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer put it Wednesday, "a public good".

The 2015 rules were meant to ensure a free and open internet, give consumers equal access to Web content and bar broadband service providers from favoring their own material or others'.

Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., said the internet thrived long before the Obama administration stepped in with rules in 2015, and he predicted that when the FCC repeal is in place, consumers won't notice a change in their service.

Information for this article was contributed by Frank E. Lockwood of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

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