Senate decision on Net Neutrality
The Senate has voted to restore Net Neutrality opposing FCC’s repeal proposed last December. Net Neutrality was led by the Obama administration that ensured equal and fair treatment for web content. The ban required internet providers not to tamper, charge fees, block or slow down certain content. Major internet providers such as AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon were prevented from interfering with internet traffic and favoring their own sites and apps. Critics, including the Trump administration, believed this ruling was stifling innovation.
All 49 Democrats voted in favor, as well as Republican Senators Susan Collins of Maine; John Kennedy of Louisiana and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. The final vote was 52-47. The Congress was allowed to permanently block any federal regulation with a simple majority vote, under the CRA (Congressional Review Act). The act allows senators to force a vote by obtaining 30 signatures. The FCC repeal initially went into effect on April 23, 2018, but nobody felt the real effect of it all. Only some minor parts of the repeal took effect such as including the internet as an information service rather than a utility. The Congress has 60 days to review and revoke Net Neutrality under the CRA. The real consequences of the decision yesterday will not go into effect until June 11.
Although the petition is not in the hands of the FCC anymore, Congress has to get past another hurdle. They will face a tough fight in the House because many Republican reps support FCC’s regulation. House has to use the CRA to overturn the policy as well. Now, Net Neutrality activists have to collect signatures from a full majority of House members. The activists are not losing hope so far and are very sure they could actually get through the House.
Net Neutrality’s best chance
The general consensus at this point is that Net Neutrality is not under the power of FCC anymore. Only Congress will have to take care of the petition to get through the House and ultimately the President. Chances are Net Neutrality might win after all but it has a long way to go. This leaves the revolt for an open, free internet still uncertain.