undergroundnewsroom.com March 22, 2018

Restoration of net neutrality rules hits key milestone in Senate

09 January 2018, 02:11 | Ruben Stone

Senator Claire McCaskill. Mark Wilson Getty Images

Claire McCaskill

The FCC may have repealed its net neutrality protections, but the battle isn't over yet.

Senate Democrats who are trying to force a vote on reinstating net neutrality rules have hit a key milestone.

It was not unexpected that associations or public interest groups would start the judicial steamroller, but several states have stepped forward to create their own regulatory framework to preserve net neutrality.

But net neutrality backers have argued that clear rules are needed to prevent internet service providers from blocking or throttling services or websites for competitive reasons, and that the rollback would increase the power of a few dominant providers to control what users see online.

The bill, which would amend the Communications Act, would bring back numerous parts of Net Neutrality by directly the FCC to enforce rules agents blocking and throttling. Bernie Sanders - who is an independent but caucuses with the Democratic Party. The Congressional Review Act allows Congress to overturn recent federal regulations with a simple majority, and Republicans have previously used it to gut Obama-era environmental and consumer privacy protections. Previously a seldom-used, obscure law, the CRA was used multiple times previous year to overturn regulations issued in the waning days of the Obama administration. "In the House, we'll need about 20 Republicans to listen to their constituents and vote for the CRA".

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Tom Wheeler's net neutrality rules probably place too many restrictions on the telcos, while the so-called "Restoring Internet Freedom Order" maybe offers to much freedom to billion-dollar businesses, who haven't really earnt the trust being granted through light-touch regulation they now have. A University of Maryland poll last month found they were supported by 83% of Americans, including 75% of Republicans.

But fear not-there are a number of other ways people are fighting the end of net neutrality, from lawsuits to local legislation. With the FCC's just-published order, net neutrality is no longer the law.

Before this, a lot of the same big tech companies were fairly passive and inactive during the initial protests of the repeal.

In California, a bill was introduced earlier this week to regulate internet service providers as public utilities and to block them from using utility poles unless they agreed to comply with the net neutrality rules.

The Nebraska Telecommunications Association, which said it would study Morfeld's bill before taking a position on it, circulated a white paper among its 30 member companies past year describing the 2015 rules as trying "to fit a square peg in a round hole".

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