Published: Thu, May 17, 2018
Finance | By Claude Patterson

What Will Happen to Net Neutrality After Senate Votes To Save Protections?

What Will Happen to Net Neutrality After Senate Votes To Save Protections?

WASHINGTON (AP) - Senate Democrats, joined by three Republicans, pushed through a measure Wednesday meant to revive Obama-era internet rules that ensured equal treatment for all web traffic, though opposition in the House and the White House seems insurmountable.

The Senate on Wednesday narrowly advanced a Democrat-led attempt to retain Net neutrality regulations, the first step in a bid to keep the online traffic rules on the federal books before their repeal takes effect in June.

Still, Democrats are already using their messaging in campaign material. Leading up to the FCC's vote, though, many media outlets were shockingly silent on the repercussions of upending consumer protections on internet access. Without those, telecom companies could quash competition and free speech on the Internet - a response consumer groups warn is increasingly likely as Netflix and other streaming services eat up the telecoms' bandwidth.

Markey said he expects to see more Republican members of the House come out in favor of net neutrality following the vote.

Comcast Corp., Verizon Communications Inc. and AT&T Inc. have pledged to not block or discriminate against legal content after the net neutrality rules expire. "They are with the special interests, and we are with the people".

The Senate vote used a tactic called the Congressional Review Act, which allows Congress to overturn moves by government agencies.

Additionally, a Nexis search for "net neutrality" produced zero results among the nation's top newspapers, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, the New York Post, and USA Today. Yesterday's vote included three Republicans, including Susan Collins of Maine.

As reported by the Guardian, Senator John Thune, a Republican from South Dakota labelled the Senate's vote as "political theatre", saying it stood no chance of approval by the House. That might just happen - it's an election year and Republicans will be lobbied by net neutrality supporters. "It's disappointing that Senate Democrats forced this resolution through by a narrow margin". Markey (D-Mass.) said.

Democrats argued the new FCC rules give too much power to internet service providers, which they fear will throttle down speeds for some websites and services while ramping it up for others who pay more. Earlier this month, Senator Shaheen held a Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee field hearing with New Hampshire small business owners about the effects of repealing net neutrality protections on Granite State small businesses.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Wednesday that the solution was for lawmakers to draft Net neutrality legislation "that would safeguard consumers but still prevent regulators from stifling innovation".

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