Published: Thu, May 17, 2018
Finance | By Loren Pratt

US Senate passes bill protecting net neutrality, likely a symbolic gesture

US Senate passes bill protecting net neutrality, likely a symbolic gesture

Today, Cantwell and Washington's other US Senator, Patty Murray, joined all the Senate Democrats and three Republicans in moving to repeal a Trump-era decision from the Federal Communications Commission that will dismantle net neutrality as we know it.

Three Republican senators, Susan Collins (R-ME), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and John Kennedy (R-LA), voted in favor of the bill, which passed 52-47.

There's a glimmer of hope for net neutrality yet.

"I have consistently stated to Alaskans that I strongly support preserving a free and open internet - and believe that keeping the internet affordable and accessible to all consumers is an essential principle in internet governance".

"When we talk about a free and open Internet, we mean it is free from corporate control", he said. However, Democrats were able to garner sufficient support to force a vote on the resolution in the Senate. In the words of Comcast's CEO Brian Roberts, broadband providers were more concerned about "the authority of the government to go to places that they said they weren't going to, but legally they could go to [] with Title II".

Equally as predictably, Commissioner JESSICA ROSENWORCEL took the opposite position from PAI, with a statement reading "Today the UNITED STATES Senate took a big step to fix the serious mess the FCC made when it rolled back net neutrality late previous year".

The FCC in December repealed rules set under Democratic President Barack Obama that barred internet service providers from blocking or slowing access to content or charging consumers more for certain content. "These are the policies that every American benefits from and it enables our modern economy", Doyle said at a press conference after the Senate passed a bill reinstating net neutrality. A recent poll showed that 83 percent of Americans do not approve of the FCC action to repeal net neutrality rules.

However, to keep the Obama-era rules, the House of Representatives will need to follow suit and President Donald Trump will need to sign the resolution before June 11, when the agency's new rules are scheduled to go into effect. "But we're just getting started".

The Senate voted to overturn the FCC's repeal of net neutrality on Wednesday afternoon, but experts say the measure faces a tough road ahead. "In the absence of rules and laws, competition is key to giving people the ability to choose a net neutral provider".

That may be a heavy lift, but Blumenthal reminded the Senate that the issue of net neutrality will likely be decided in court. That's why so many people from across the political spectrum pushed their lawmakers to support this resolution - and the public pressure will only intensify as this measure moves to the House.

Alaska's other senator, Dan Sullivan, said he agrees with that. "The prior Administration's regulatory overreach took us in the opposite direction, reducing investment in broadband networks and particularly harming small Internet service providers in rural and lower-income areas".

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