US Senate votes to restore and save Net Neutrality

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.

Today, senators voted on a resolution to undo a 2017 move by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to end net neutrality regulations, but major television and print media outlets have devoted little more than a few mentions to the issue.

The FCC decided in 2015 to reclassify internet service providers as common carriers under a 1996 law. If an internet service provider which is owned by a conglomerate decides to absorb an exchange then without net neutrality they can charge users extra and or toggle down speeds to access exchanges in competition with their own. Democrats need a majority of representatives to sign a discharge petition in order to force a House vote.

The Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) encouraged its members last week to contact Senators and urge them to vote "yes" on the reinstatement resolution.

Yesterday (16 May) was another victory for those who wish to retain net neutrality and avoid a future where the internet is multi-tiered and stacked against those who can not afford the fastest connections. "I will continue working across the aisle to move this measure forward and support a level playing field for all of our people and businesses", Hassan added. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and others argued that removing protections would return the internet to the same regulatory environment that helped it grow. Watch her remarks here.

Three Republicans joined with Democrats in voting to repeal the FCC rule that was scheduled to go into effect next month. Edward Markey, D-Mass., during debate over the resolution. "You are either for a free and open internet or you are not". If both the House and Senate vote to overturn the FCC decision, that will focus attention squarely on the White House-putting pressure on the president to reconsider and, if he does not, assuring that net neutrality will be an issue in the 2020 presidential election.

On the other hand - how easy would it be to remove net neutrality without it straying over state lines?

Today's vote implications are significant-net neutrality is critical for our nation's progress and for the creation of good jobs in the future.

North Dakota Senator Heidi Heitkamp says she believes it has a lot of Republican support because of special interests.

Similarly, Snapchat parent Snap said in February that adopting laws that "adversely affect the growth, popularity, or use of the internet, including laws governing internet neutrality, could decrease the demand for our products and increase our cost of doing business".

  • Zachary Reyes