US Senate Votes to Reinstate Net Neutrality
On May 18, 2018, the US Senate voted to reinstate the 2015 Net Neutrality laws. These laws were repealed on December 14, 2017 by the Federal Communications Commission [FCC]. Net Neutrality is a major issue currently. 83% of voters support it; however, many Republicans in the House and Senate, as well as Donald Trump, himself pushed for the repeal.
Net Neutrality is the principle that all traffic on the internet should be treated equally. This means that Internet service providers cannot favor or block lawful websites, content, applications or services. Net Neutrality stops providers from blocking or slowing down traffic for certain sites, if the sites don’t pay a fee. It also stops providers from offering faster services and favored treatment to companies willing to pay more to reach consumers. Net Neutrality
The senate voted to overturn the FCC order to create an open internet using the Congressional Review Act [CRA]. The CRA allows congress to reverse decisions made by government agencies. The vote was 52-47. Currently a coalition of House Democrats have begun to gather signatures to bring the Net Neutrality laws to the House floor. If representatives receive signatures from half of the House, by January, the order will be voted on.
The repeal of Net Neutrality is scheduled to go into effect on June 11. Overtime it will probably result in consumers having to pay for the service they have now. It will favor major businesses and wealthy households who are able to pay for better service. Meanwhile, low income households and small businesses will be in the internet’s ‘slow lane’ because they are unable to pay.
Feelings about Net Neutrality are mixed. Tech companies, like Google, as well as consumers and most congressional Democrats support Net Neutrality. They believe that the internet as we know it will not exist without Net Neutrality. Meanwhile, most congressional Republicans are in favor of the FCC’s decision to repeal these laws. They believe that Net Neutrality is outdated. They also believe that the repeal of Net Neutrality laws will lead to faster service and the expansion of service in rural areas.