On Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced that an Obama-era regulation over the internet would be ending next month. The FCC previously voted to repeal the measure, which allows internet service providers to slow connection speeds to certain websites, or block access altogether to these websites, as long as they disclose the information to customers.
In the announcement, the FCC said a new set of rules would be implemented 30 days from Friday, on June 11.
Per Fox Business:
A group of states and others have sued to try to block the new rules from taking effect. The revised rules were a win for internet service providers like AT&T Inc and Comcast Corp but are opposed by internet firms like Facebook Inc and Alphabet Inc.
The U.S. Senate is set to vote as early as next week on whether to reject the FCC repeal of the net neutrality rules.
Proponents currently have the backing of 47 Democrats and two independents who caucus with Democrats, as well as Republican Senator Susan Collins. With the prolonged absence of Republican Senator John McCain due to illness, proponents believe they will win on a 50-49 vote.
Senator Ed Markey said it was “likely” the vote will take place in the middle of next week. On Wednesday, senators officially filed a petition to force a net neutrality vote and 10 hours of floor debate under the Congressional Review Act.
The FCC voted 3-2 to reverse Obama-era rules barring service providers from blocking, slowing access to or charging more for certain online content. Once they take effect, the new FCC rules would give internet service providers sweeping powers to change how consumers access the internet but include new transparency requirements that require them to disclose any changes to consumers.
All 49 Senate Democrats (and Sen Susan Collins) have filed a discharge petition that will force a vote to reinstate net neutrality. pic.twitter.com/4Q2rlV9n7U
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) May 10, 2018
Today, @SenateDems officially filed the petition that allows us to force a vote on the Senate floor to save #NetNeutrality. And with just #OneMoreVote from a Republican, we can secure a victory. pic.twitter.com/92P9zlQmAI
— Sen Dianne Feinstein (@SenFeinstein) May 9, 2018
As Fox Business reports, the Democrat effort in the Senate to uphold net neutrality faces a near impossible path to becoming a law as a Republican-majority in the House of Representatives would vote against the measure and President Trump would most likely veto it.
While debate over the complicated issue is still being held, net neutrality could find its way influencing the 2018 congressional elections:
In February, a coalition of 22 state attorneys general refiled legal challenges intended to block the Trump administration’s repeal of net neutrality.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has often said he is confident the agency’s order will be upheld.
Democrats have said they believe the issue would be key in November’s midterm congressional elections, especially among younger internet-savvy voters.
Republicans have said the FCC repeal would eliminate heavy-handed government regulations, encourage investment and return the internet to pre-2015 rules.
Here’s more on the Democrat effort in the Senate, via the Hill:
Note: The author of this article has included commentary that expresses an opinion and analysis of the facts.
The FCC’s action sparked an uproar, creating a political issue that Senate Democrats made clear they intend to highlight in the midterm election campaign.
“This bill does one simple thing: It gets every member of the Senate on the record for or against net neutrality,” said Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), during a press conference unveiling the net neutrality resolution.
“Republicans are going to regret it from a public policy standpoint and a political standpoint,” he said. “I cannot think of an issue that polls so decisively on one side.”
Republicans swung back at the Democratic effort, calling it “political theater” that threatened to get in the way of a bipartisan net neutrality deal in Congress.
“Unfortunately, manufactured controversy often gets more attention in Washington than real solutions,” Senate Commerce Chairman John Thune (R-S.D.) wrote in a CNBC op-ed on Wednesday.