Dems Propose Bill to Reverse FCC Repeal of Net Neutrality

Proponents of an open and unregulated internet attend a news conference at the US Capitol on 27 February in Washington DC

Democrats introduce bill to restore net neutrality rules, but it's probably doomed

As we previously discussed, the Order effectively reverses the Commission's 2015 Open Internet Order, reclassifying broadband Internet access service as a lightly regulated Title I "information service" and eliminating the 2015 Order's open Internet rules (while retaining a modified version of the transparency requirement).

Public Knowledge opposes Chairman Pai's deeply troubling break with nearly 20 years of bipartisan FCC support for the Open Internet, and is also suing the FCC. Ed Markey, the plan would use the Congressional Review Act - the law that lets Congress overturn agency rules with a simple majority vote - to reverse the ironically named Restoring Internet Freedom order.

Some of the biggest tech companies like Amazon, Facebook, Google, Netflix, and Reddit are holding a "day of action" today to fight for net neutrality.

Net neutrality, which ensures that all internet traffic is treated equally, was rescinded by the FCC late a year ago by a 3 to 2 vote. OR is the latest state to introduce legislation that circumvents the FCC, without technically contradicting its rules.

Governors from Montana, New York, New Jersey, Hawaii, and Vermont, for example, have issued executive orders that condition Internet Service Provider (ISP) contracts with state agencies on adherence to net neutrality principles. And the Vermont attorney general has signed onto a lawsuit challenging the rules in court. Usually, he says, federal preemption is based on some existing conflicting federal regulation that trumps state legislation. Established in 2015, the Obama-era rules commonly referred to as "net neutrality" prohibit broadband companies from prioritizing or blocking some content over others.

Markey and his 49 Senate co-sponsors hope that the 60-day window will be enough time to prevent a tiebreaking vote by Vice President Mike Pence.

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Dozens of his fellow Democrats on Capitol Hill joined with reps from activist groups to call for one more vote to allow Senate passage of the bill.

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., who held a hearing on this issue in Vermont in 2014 when he was chair of the Judiciary Committee, said in an interview that there is almost enough support in the Senate to pass it.

As of Tuesday, all 47 Democratic senators had signed on to the resolution of disapproval, as well as two independents and one Republican, Sen. Susan Collins backing the measure.

"We've got to have somebody else that's got the guts to stand up", Leahy said.

That resolution had garnered support from at least 150 representatives as of Tuesday afternoon, according to Markey's office. There are several ways we can bring net neutrality to California.

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