Opponents of the FCC’s effort to roll back net neutrality rules have gained enough co-sponsors for a bill that would force a Senate vote on the matter.
The repeal of the rules, which was approved 3-2 by the Federal Communications Commission last month, is opposed by many Democrats, public advocacy groups and tech companies.
Net neutrality is the principle that all online traffic should be treated equally. Without net neutrality rules in place, internet service providers would not be prohibited from slowing down online traffic or giving preferential treatment to some content.
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Since the FCC voted to repeal the rules last month, Sen. Ed Markey, D-Massachusetts, has led an effort to reverse the decision under the Congressional Review Act, for which he needed 30 sponsors. Monday, Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Missouri, tweeted that she is that 30th co-sponsor.
However, a reversal of the FCC push seems unlikely because Congress is controlled by Republicans, very few of whom have expressed support for the net neutrality rules adopted under the Obama administration. But Democrats and other net neutrality advocates want to force legislators to take a vote anyway, considering polls have shown that a majority of Americans support net neutrality.
Markey said during a press conference call last month that “those who don’t support a free and open internet will feel the power of the consumer.”
“Any lawmaker foolish enough to be on the wrong side of history by voting against the free and open Internet will regret it come election day,” Evan Greer, Fight for the Future campaign director, said in a statement Monday.
The opposition to the FCC repeal is mobilizing in a big way. The Internet Association — whose member companies include Google, Facebook and Netflix — said last week it is prepared to join a legal battle against repealing the rules, which were approved in 2015.
Photo: A sign with an angry emoji and “don’t take net neutrality away” is posted outside the Federal Communications Commission in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 14, 2017. (Carolyn Kaster/AP)
Tags: Ed Markey, fcc, net neutrality, senate