New bill could save net neutrality in Washington

Tuesday, 16 Jan, 2018

Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) says that all 49 Democratic senators plan to co-sponsor his Congressional Review Act resolution to nullify the FCC's December 14 vote to roll back net regs.

The measure, if it passes the Senate, faces a murky future as it would have to pass the GOP-held House and get President TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse Democrat slams Donald Trump Jr. for "serious case of amnesia" after testimony Skier Lindsey Vonn: I don't want to represent Trump at Olympics Poll: 4 in 10 Republicans think senior Trump advisers had improper dealings with Russia MORE's signature to go into effect.

The rules were originally put in place to prevent internet providers from slowing down content or requiring websites to pay for faster speeds. The House of Representatives would also have to pass a resolution reversing the FCC's decision by majority vote, and in that chamber, Republicans have a more than 40-seat advantage.

Markey has been one of the strongest defenders of former FCC chairman Tom Wheeler's decisoin to reclassify ISPs under Title II common carrier regs and the 2015 Open Internet order the Pai FCC rolled back on a straight party line vote that mirrored the Democrats' vote to impose Title II regs.

The decision to overturn Net Neutrality has significant implications for businesses that use internet services and for service providers delivering their platforms and services to others. As of last Tuesday, 40 senators had signed onto the resolution to challenge the FCC under the act.

For the most part, this is just a way for Democrats to force the issue and rile up net neutrality supporters all over again.

That debate broke into the public consciousness in 2015, as the FCC under chairman Tom Wheeler took the step of regulating Internet providers like legacy telephone companies.

Industry groups sought to have the rules repealed - filing a lawsuit against the FCC that ultimately ended in defeat. The new rules will not take affect for several months, the FCC has said.

The enactment of such regulation would allow the states to preserve the Obama-era net neutrality rules.