Senate passes bill to reinstate net neutrality

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"Net neutrality protected everyone ... that era, the era of an open Internet, will unfortunately soon come to an end".

In what's being called "the most important vote for the internet in the history of the Senate", advocates, such as the organization Fight for the Future, and supporters of net neutrality are "sounding the alarm" and asking constituents to get involved by contacting their senators regarding this issue. Even if it passes the House, President Trump could still - and likely will - veto the order when it lands on his desk.

Prior to the Senate vote, lobbyists for cable companies, telecoms, and mobile phone companies stated that legislation is unnecessary, and that internet service providers will self-regulate within the industry, a point that Democrats argued was false, citing the industry's recent practices of throttling and data prioritization.

The FCC voted 3-2 to roll back numerous existing net neutrality rules, including those prohibiting internet service providers from blocking or throttling of content, or from selling so-called "fast lanes" for speedier access to consumers.

Republicans overwhelmingly support ending net neutrality because they want to shift regulatory power away from the federal government and toward the private market. Murkowski spent about 30 minutes on the Senate floor discussing that procedural vote with key Republicans and Democrats before making her decision.

Even if the Senate passes the resolution, it's unlikely to be enacted.

On the other hand, a Democratic-led CRA is a direct, partisan attack on the administration, which has supported this FCC's actions, and would cause return to Obama-era rules, which few Republicans would relish.

Although the vote has been expected for months now, its outcome is uncertain.

Will any Republican Senators see the writing on the wall and flip?

Ahead of the chamber's vote, Markey noted that his resolution had garnered support from all 47 chamber Democrats, independent U.S. Sens.

This issue doesn't cut along clean party lines, said Steven Kull, who runs the Program for Public Consultation at the University of Maryland and has studied public attitudes on net neutrality. Today's vote is a sign that the fight for internet freedom is far from over. Democrats think the fight to restore the rules could be a political victor during November's congressional midterm elections even if the effort is unsuccessful because it will force Republicans to vote against reinstating the rules. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), "has the support of the entire 49-member Senate Democratic caucus, plus a pledge from Sen". The resolution brought under the Congressional Review Act can not be filibustered, and it only requires a simple majority to clear the Senate. Shortly before the FCC's vote last December, polling by the University of Maryland showed that 83 percent of voters opposed the FCC's plan to repeal net neutrality. The resolution will seek to overturn a rule voted in by the FCC in December that eliminated most of its net neutrality regulations. If they do, however, they are required to disclose it.

Net neutrality is the principle that all traffic on the internet should basically be treated the same.