US Senate Forcing Vote to Restore Net Neutrality

Protesters marching to protect net neutrality

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s dream to kill net neutrality could come to an end because the U.S. Senate is forcing a vote to restore the protections. Lawmakers are using the Congressional Review Act to make the vote happen, and right now it looks like the Senate is just one vote short of bringing net neutrality back to life.

Ajit Pai was a vocal critic of net neutrality even before he became the FCC Chairman. After he took over the role from Tom Wheeler, he went on a public crusade to undo the protections keeping net neutrality in place.

Pai succeeded and overturning the FCC’s Open Internet Order in December 2017, effectively ending net neutrality protection in the United States. His reasoning was that Internet Service Providers can make a better experience for users without regulations and that government involvement stifles innovation.

[FCC Chairman Has Delusional Plan to (Un)Protect Net Neutrality]

[FCC Votes with Ajit Pai to End Net Neutrality in Party Line Vote]

Net Neutrality 101

Net neutrality is the idea that all information should be able to pass freely through internet servers. Without net neutrality, ISPs can throttle content from competitors, charge extra to allow content to pass through to customers, and block content as they please.

ISPs say they don’t need net neutrality regulation and that customers don’t need to worry about throttled or blocked content. History, however, says they do. Verizon and Comcast actively throttled Netflix streams until the streaming movie service payed extra money. Other ISPs have blocked content, too.

[Wheeler’s Final Plea for an Open Internet]

The Senate is using the CRA to force a vote reinstating net neutrality, and that vote could come as early as next week. The CRA gives Congress 60 days on the legislative calendar after a regulation is introduced to revert it to its prior state. In this case, it would bring back net neutrality protections.

Voting to Save Net Neutrality

The Senate and House of Representatives need a simple majority vote to to pass the roll back on to the White House for the President’s signature. Right now the Senate has 50 supporting votes and is optimistic that needed 51st vote will come soon. The House seems supportive, too, so there’s a reasonable chance net neutrality could get a second chance at life.

Assuming the CRA vote goes in favor of retaining net neutrality, Ajit Pai and the FCC will have to comply and continue to enforce the Open Internet Order.

5 thoughts on “US Senate Forcing Vote to Restore Net Neutrality

  • Obama did not enact net “neutrality” until 2015. And yet we got Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Netflix, and so many other startups before then. All of it happened before Obama’s policy. The world did just fine without his policy, and will continue to do fine without it. On the contrary, if you want to open the door into neutrality, I am happy to talk about regulating Facebook so they stop suppressing Diamond and Silk.

    You want to open the door to government referee? Okay. Then just remember Trump is going to be that referee. So we can bring that on if you really want Trump deciding who wins and loses, and what is fair.

  • Among the many great Americans in the Trump administration who are liberating the country from self-defeating regulations, Ajit Pai stands out as one of the best. He is 100% right about net neutrality.

    As intended by those who named the policy, this article conflates the concept of net neutrality with the destructive regulation titled Net Neutrality. There is nothing “neutral” about the government beginning to play referee in free markets.

    We’ve been without net neutrality since December 2017 and the world has kept turning. I hope this loses in the Senate so we can be done this bad idea once and for all.

    1. jackadoodle – your last paragraph is technically true but 100% misleading (which makes it better than anything coming out of the Trump Administration, I’ll give you that!).

      None of the big ISP’s have really started to do the things that the absence of net neutrality will allow them to do … if the Congress upholds this and Verizon, AT&T, and Comcast get to do whatever they want – and decide to actually start implementing things like fast lanes and monopolistic pricing – well, I can’t speak for you … but I know that I and tens of millions of other Americans will have one more reason to wish for the days when we weren’t lead by evil, delusional egomaniacs…

      Old UNIX Guy

      1. Hey man, I did a reply but it looks like it got posted as a new thread. Sorry about that. But figured you were nice enough to reply, so I wanted you to know I received it.

  • Ajit Pai is a total scumbag, he’s 100% wrong about Net Neutrality, and I hope the Senate and Congress do overturn him on this.

    However, it’s also true that he – at “best” – comes in no higher than a distant 3rd in the competition to be the most worthless scumbag in the Trump Administration (and I’m not counting Trump / Pence) … waaaaaayyyyyyyyy behind Scott Pruitt and Ryan Zinke … and what those two worthless sacks of monkey dung are doing have way more negative consequences for our country … and our planet … than anything Pai does.

    And don’t get me fired up or I might tell you what I really think of them… 😉

    Old UNIX Guy

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