ND Senate discuss net neutrality, plan moving forward

REUTERS

Pai is seen here speaking to the House Appropriations Committee earlier this year.

It has been just over five months since the FCC in the United States voted to dismantle Obama-era net neutrality rules, with three out of five commissioners involved choosing to end the regulation. In recent months, Republicans have used the tools made available in the Congressional Review Act to overturn several environmental, health and safety rules put into place in the final months of the Obama administration.

Senators voted 52-47 to overturn the Restoring Internet Freedom Order issued by the FCC a year ago. "It's disappointing that Senate Democrats forced this resolution through by a narrow margin". Instead of blocking the FCC's rule repeal, it suggested that policymakers work toward "bipartisan compromise legislation that will stand the test of time".

Following the Senate's vote, the question of whether net neutrality should be saved will be posed to the US House of Representatives. Once there, the caucus would need a simple majority to adopt the resolution - and with Collins, it has 50 votes.

The Democratic senators were only able to secure enough votes thanks to three Republican senators who were ultimately persuaded to vote in favour of the proposal.

In the end, the US Senate approved the roll back by 52 votes to 47, and it will now move to the House for review, where it faces an uphill battle.

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Net neutrality, under which the internet has operated since its inception, ensures that there is no favoritism in internet access.

A major objection about the Net neutrality rules was the FCC's decision to classify broadband as a more highly regulated utilitylike service under Title 2 of federal telecommunications law.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal speaks during a news conference on a petition to force a vote on net neutrality on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. Also pictured are Sen. "And it will continue to be free and open once the Restoring Internet Freedom Order takes effect on June 11", he asserted.

Markey said net neutrality has worked for the smallest voices and the largest, but he said internet service providers are trying to change the rules to benefit their interests. Only some minor parts of the repeal took effect such as including the internet as an information service rather than a utility. "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".

Republicans said the regulations threaten heavy-handed government intrusion that would stifle innovation on the Internet.

"This is shameful", Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, who's in the Democratic minority, said on Twitter.

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