Welch unveils legislation to restore net neutrality

Yolanda Curtis
January 16, 2018

U.S. Senate Democrats are planning to force a vote this year on reversing the Federal Communications Commission's decision to repeal net neutrality rules and now need just one more of their Republican peers to join them for the legislation to pass the Senate, U.S. Sen. The 2015 decision had imposed the concept of "Net Neutrality", which required broadband internet service providers to treat all data equally and prohibited them from discriminating or charging fees differently based on factors related to the user, the content, or the platform.

A University of Maryland poll taken just before the FCC vote showed 75 percent of Republicans, 89 percent of Democrats and 86 percent of independents favored keeping the net neutrality rules in place.

Before it passes the Senate, one more Republican has to break ranks and support the resolution. The House of Representatives would also have to pass a resolution reversing the FCC's decision by majority vote, and in that chamber, Republicans have a more than 40-seat advantage.

Net neutrality proponents' rage towards the regulation's repeal has reached risky new heights; FCC chairman Ajit Pai canceled his appearance at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January reportedly due to death threats. FCC chairman Ajit Pai, who was appointed by President Donald Trump, rescinded the rules in December, saying they restricted industry too much, The Washington Post reported. According to the press release, the Senate Net Neutrality resolution has the support of all 49 Democratic senators.

Markey's office said the resolution will be filed in accordance with the Congressional Review Act, which requires a simple majority in both branches for a federal agency's regulatory decision to be overturned.

The Federal Communication Commission's recent decision to overturn Net Neutrality will significantly impact telecommunications providers and their customers. "It's clear that Democrats are committed to fighting to keep the Internet from becoming the Wild West where ISPs [Internet service providers] are free to offer premium service to only the wealthiest customers while average consumer are left with far inferior options".

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