US Senate votes to restore net neutrality


"It will allow internet service providers and cable companies to dictate the winners and losers in the digital world and it will give a very small number of market players near-limitless power, stifling the rights of citizens that can not afford to play by their rules".

Edward Markey, D-Mass. The resolution aims to overturn the FCC's repeal of the Obama administration's Open Internet Order of 2015, which officially established net neutrality.

It has been just over five months since the FCC in the U.S. voted to dismantle Obama-era net neutrality rules, with three out of five commissioners involved choosing to end the regulation. "This is a defining vote".

"We will take a stand to protect our online economy or say goodbye to internet as we know it", said Senator Ed Markey.

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.

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. The Senate vote is just the first step though, as the vote now goes to the House of Representatives, which has until January 2019 to conduct its own vote. The activists are not losing hope so far and are very sure they could actually get through the House.

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Although the FCC exempted Internet service providers from many aspects of that tougher oversight, such as rate regulation, opponents of the rules said the decision opened the door to onerous federal regulation. But the FCC's move has stirred fears among consumer advocates that cable and phone giants will be free to block access to services they don't like or set up "fast lanes" for preferred services - in turn, relegating everyone else to "slow lanes".

The legislation would require the signature of Trump, who has criticized the net neutrality rules. In February, a coalition of 23 attorneys general filed a lawsuit to block the rollback of net neutrality. Other businesses have echoed this statement.

The FCC decided in 2015 to reclassify internet service providers as common carriers under a 1996 law.

They were Susan Collins (R-ME), John Kennedy (R-LA) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK). Murkowski spent about 30 minutes on the Senate floor discussing that procedural vote with key Republicans and Democrats before making her decision.

Republicans who voted against the measure criticized the move as "political theater" with little chance of becoming law.

Formally called a resolution of disapproval, the CRA has the support of every member of the Democratic caucus in the Senate, along with Sen. But the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, a think tank, said Congress was taking the wrong tack. However, after the FCC voted to repeal the regulation past year, the rules could be scrapped as soon as next month.