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Senate Democrats To Force Vote On Net Neutrality

10 January 2018

A Senate bill that would stop the Federal Communications Commission's effort to repeal net neutrality just won its first Republican backer on Tuesday, with Sen.

In a letter published January 5, Internet Association President and CEO Michael Beckerman says the final version of net neutrality changes, as drafted by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, "defies the will of a bipartisan majority of Americans and fails to preserve a free and open internet".

As for the likelihood of the FCC's reversal actually being stopped, that will likely fall to the courts, with big tech companies and a number of advocacy groups now preparing their legal arguments and waiting for the FCC's decision to be formally published in the Federal Register before taking action.

While McCaskill's support is good news for those who wish to see the decision overturned, the vote in itself will not be enough to ensure that net neutrality will be restored. Their support for legal actions against an office of the USA government is almost unprecedented. Broadband providers said they have no plans for anti-competitive "fast lanes", since consumers demand unfettered web access.

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But what does all this mean, really? It does have the right to weigh in on the matter to protect the interests of its members who are directly affected by the decision.

On Friday, the Internet Association, a trade group representing online companies including Facebook and Google, said it planned to sign onto an expected lawsuit seeking to block the repeal through the courts. The legal battle is to ensue months from now and the venue for the case has yet to be determined though. "The number of litigants is also now unknown - interested parties have another 50 days or so to file if they wish to join the suit". So far, nonprofit Public Knowledge, the open-internet advocacy group Free Press, and e-commerce giant Etsy are with the shits.

In 2017, Republican lawmakers and President Donald Trump used the CRA to rescind 14 regulations the Obama administration issued before leaving the White House. It seems that state legislators are starting to take matters of net neutrality into their own hands. Similarly, the agency did not provide sufficient input on the proposal for overturning the old regulations.

Polls have shown broad consumer support for open Internet principles.

Senate Democrats To Force Vote On Net Neutrality