Thursday, 18 January, 2018

The FCC releases final draft of net neutrality repeal

Gabor Degre | BDN Gabor Degre | BDN
Wallace Pearson | 09 January, 2018, 02:11

The FCC may have repealed its net neutrality protections, but the battle isn't over yet.

Missouri's Claire McCaskill - signed on to sponsor a resolution that would nullify the Federal Communications Commission's vote to repeal its net neutrality rules. But the path to restore net neutrality and secure its future has already begun to unfold. John MarkeyNet neutrality supporters predict tough court battle over FCC's repeal plan Avalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign Driverless vehicle bill hits Senate speed bump MORE (D-Mass.), would use Congress's authority under the Congressional Review Act to reverse the FCC's rollback of its popular net neutrality rules.

Along with lifting the regulations that made it illegal for internet service providers to block or slow access to websites they did not own, net neutrality also prevents those providers from charging extra fees to customers, a "pay-to-play" arrangement in order to connect to certain websites or use applications that eat up large amounts of internet bandwidth.

The resolution was drafted under the Congressional Review Act, which gives Congress the authority to overturn new regulations issued by federal agencies with a simple-majority vote in both houses.

Though Democrats now have enough support to force the resolution to a vote in the Senate, they have much steeper barriers to getting it adopted. Previously a seldom-used, obscure law, the CRA was used multiple times past year to overturn regulations issued in the waning days of the Obama administration. The resolution needs all Democratic senators, and two Republicans, to vote in favor of it to pass.

"We need common rules of the road that apply evenly to all players in the internet ecosystem", the paper states, adding that the net neutrality rules only applied to retail broadband providers and not major companies like Google, Amazon or Facebook. A University of Maryland poll last month found they were supported by 83% of Americans, including 75% of Republicans. All 30 supporters are members of the Democratic caucus.

But fear not-there are a number of other ways people are fighting the end of net neutrality, from lawsuits to local legislation.

Washington, New York, and California have all introduced state-level net neutrality legislation in the aftermath of the FCC's decision to repeal Obama-era net neutrality rules that treat the Internet like a public utility.

"The final version of Chairman Pai's rule, as expected, dismantles popular net neutrality protections for consumers", said Internet Association President & CEO Michael Beckerman.

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

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