Where We Stand: A Last Chance on Net Neutrality


The deadline for the vote in the Senate is June 12, and as of right now the resolution needs only one more vote to pass.

"On June 11, these unnecessary and harmful Internet regulations will be repealed and the bipartisan, light-touch approach that served the online world well for almost 20 years will be restored", said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai in a statement Thursday. "Are they protecting average consumers and middle class families or are they protecting the big, corporate and special interests?"

U.S. Sen. Ed Markey, D-Massachusetts, urged Congress Thursday to immediately act to protect "net neutrality" provisions, as the FCC announced it will officially roll back the Obama-era internet regulations next month.

The 1996 act allows Congress to overturn a federal agency rule by a simple majority vote in each chamber.

The FCC's announcement comes ahead of a Senate effort to overturn the repeal. Now all 48 Democratic Senators support the measure, along with Independent Angus King and Republican Susan Collins. All Democrats have signed on, as well as a Republican from Maine.

Democrats in the Senate have forced a vote on whether to uphold net neutrality regulations. Once a disapproval resolution is introduced in the Senate, it is referred to the relevant committee; in the case of the net neutrality resolution, that's the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.

If the Senate approves the measure, the measure would not likely pass the Republican-controlled House of Representatives or survive a veto by President Donald Trump. "Congress will spend the upcoming days on more political theater", Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Sen. Basically, net neutrality was made to keep the internet equal - and prohibited prohibiting internet providers from blocking or throttling access to the web.

Absent those protections, ISPs such as AT&T, Comcast and Verizon (which owns HuffPost's parent company, Oath) could prioritize their own content at the expense of others.

A legal challenge was turned back by federal judges. They ignore the fact that the FCC already requires broadband providers to disclose their open internet practices and has returned authority to the Federal Trade Commission to police any deceptive or unfair practices of ISPs. It's fair to say that free speech, competition and innovation are all at risk if they succeed in ending net-neutrality rules, which ensured that content should be treated equally online.

In a statement Thursday, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, a longtime opponent of network neutrality protections, hailed the impending change as a return to "the bipartisan, light-touch approach that served the online world well for almost 20 years" while bashing the old rules as "heavy-handed" and "outdated".