Net Neutrality Advocates Gain Symbolic Win As Senate Votes To Save Obama Rules

Advocates for net neutrality won a symbolic victory Wednesday when the Senate voted 52-47 to preserve Obama-era regulations that require internet service providers to treat all web traffic equally.

But the resolution also requires passage by the Republican-controlled House and Donald Trump’s signature to be enacted – an unlikely outcome before the Federal Communications Commission’s repeal of net neutrality rules goes into effect next month.

Deemed “the most important vote for the internet in the history of the US Senate” by author Senator Ed Markey, a Democrat from Massachusetts, the resolution would reverse the FCC’s December 2017 repeal of net neutrality rules that were put in place in 2015.

Related: Who will be hit hardest by net neutrality? Marginalised America | Carmen Scurato

The rules bar internet service providers (ISPs) such as AT&T, Comcast and Verizon from interfering with internet traffic by picking and choosing which types of data get sent quickly, and which types are either throttled or blocked. Without net neutrality rules in place, ISPs could discriminate against certain publishers and web services, while promoting others.

Net neutrality has been championed by congressional Democrats, who hope that their support of an open internet will appeal to young voters. Three Republicans – Senators Susan Collins of Maine, John Kennedy of Louisiana and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska – broke with their party to support the measure.

The House minority leader, Nancy Pelosi, called the vote a “victory for a grassroots”, while characterizing the FCC repeal as a “brazen giveaway at the expense of American families and citizens”.

Opponents such as Senator John Thune, a Republican from South Dakota, said the Senate’s vote amounted to “political theater” with no prospects of approval by the GOP-controlled House.

A similar resolution in the House, authored by Congressman Mike Doyle, a Democrat from Pennsylvania, has garnered 162 co-sponsors, all Democrats.

At a press conference following the Senate vote, Doyle announced that he would also open a discharge petition in an effort to force a vote on the issue. A discharge petition is a procedure to force a debate and vote on a bill despite the opposition of the speaker of the House. It requires signatures from a majority of the House, or 218 members.

Telecommunications companies lobbied hard to overturn the 2015 rule, saying it discouraged investment and innovation. The FCC said in repealing it last December that it was simply restoring the “light-touch framework” that has governed the internet for most of its existence.

Thune urged Democrats to work with him on a plan that he said would incorporate the net neutrality principles they desire without onerous regulation that he said made it harder to connect more Americans to the internet and to upgrade service.

He said the internet thrived long before the Obama administration stepped in, and he predicted that when the Trump administration’s rule scrapping net neutrality goes into effect in June, consumers will not notice a change in service.

“That’s what we’re going back to: rules that were in place for two decades under a light-touch regulatory approach that allowed the internet to explode and prosper and grow,” Thune said.

Democrats were undeterred. They see their effort as something that will energize young voters who value unfettered access to the internet.

“This is our chance, our best chance to make sure the internet stays accessible and affordable to all Americans,” said Chuck Schumer, the Senate minority leader.

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Net Neutrality Advocates Gain Symbolic Win As Senate Votes To Save Obama Rules

Source:The Guardian

Net Neutrality Advocates Gain Symbolic Win As Senate Votes To Save Obama Rules

Net Neutrality Advocates Gain Symbolic Win As Senate Votes To Save Obama Rules

Source:Reason

Net Neutrality Advocates Gain Symbolic Win As Senate Votes To Save Obama Rules

Net Neutrality Advocates Gain Symbolic Win As Senate Votes To Save Obama Rules

Source:Variety

Net Neutrality Advocates Gain Symbolic Win As Senate Votes To Save Obama Rules

Net Neutrality Advocates Gain Symbolic Win As Senate Votes To Save Obama Rules

Source:Daily Kos

Net Neutrality Advocates Gain Symbolic Win As Senate Votes To Save Obama Rules

Net Neutrality Advocates Gain Symbolic Win As Senate Votes To Save Obama Rules

Source:Reason

Net Neutrality Advocates Gain Symbolic Win As Senate Votes To Save Obama Rules

Net Neutrality Advocates Gain Symbolic Win As Senate Votes To Save Obama Rules

Source:Variety

Net Neutrality Advocates Gain Symbolic Win As Senate Votes To Save Obama Rules