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Senate votes to save net neutrality rules

17 Mai 2018

Scheduled to disappear on June 11, the rules have become a political flashpoint.

Eventually, net neutrality may be restored.

Democrats were able to force Wednesday's vote using an obscure legislative tool known as the Congressional Review Act (CRA).

Three Republican Senators broke party lines to vote for the resolution: Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and John Kennedy of Louisiana. Edward Markey, D-Mass., that would reverse the FCC's decision.

Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), said the internet thrived long before the Obama administration stepped in with rules in 2015, and he predicted that when the FCC repeal is in place, consumers won't notice a change in their service.

"I don't know how that animates people to vote if their Netflix is working", he told Reuters. "If you trust your cable company, you're not going to like my vote today".

Prior to the rollback, nationwide protests were held as consumers anxious cable and phone companies would suddenly have greater control over what they see and do online.

Still, it is unclear what fate may await the measure in the House. But the House isn't likely to take it up. "The American people have spoken". While it seems unlikely if that would happen, the Senate's vote is a strong indication of the pushback by Americans in different states that led to today's vote.

That effort is nearly certainly doomed to fail but even if by some miracle it does pass, it would then fall to President Trump to sign. The FCC's net neutrality repeal gave broadband providers extraordinary new powers to block websites, throttle services and play favorites when it comes to online content.

Despite surviving a court challenge from broadband industry groups seeking to overturn the rules in 2016, they came under fire again a year later - this time from the agency's new Republican leadership.

"We commend the senators who voted today to undo the FCC's order repealing net neutrality rules", said performers' union SAG-AFTRA in a statement.

The issue has split members along party lines, though some Republicans, including Sen.

"This issue presents a stark contrast: Are you on the side of the large internet and cable companies, or are you on the side of the average American family", said Senate Democratic Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y. "Let's treat the internet like the public good that it is". "I'll keep raising a ruckus to support net neutrality and I hope others will too". "We should not resurrect rules that should not have been done by the regulatory process in the first place".

The vote is obviously good news for net neutrality proponents, but it's also just the first step, and the next will be much more hard.

Later, Rep. Anna Eshoo, a California Democrat who represents Silicon Valley, said she was happy by the result in the Senate with the legislation.

Senate votes to save net neutrality rules