The U.S. Senate Has Voted to Reinstate Net Neutrality

May 21, 2018 - 4 minutes read

Ajit Pai hasn’t been on good terms with most Americans for most of his tenure at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), especially after he pushed to repeal net neutrality in favor of Internet fast lanes and cable package-like structuring of website access.

But to his dismay (and the relief of millions of Americans), recently, the United States Senate reinstated net neutrality. FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel says, “Today’s vote is a sign that the fight for Internet freedom is far from over.”

Tipping the Scale

Obviously, Pai wasn’t very happy about this decision: “It’s disappointing that Senate Democrats forced this resolution through by a narrow margin. But ultimately, I’m confident that their effort to reinstate heavy-handed government regulation of the Internet will fail.”

Although the Senate’s vote was narrow (52-47), it was still a representation of the majority of Internet users’ feelings surrounding the controversy. For the three Republicans and two Independents who voted to boost the Democrat’s votes from 47 to 52. “We salute them for their courage,” says the House’s minority leader Nancy Pelosi.

Unfortunately, the FCC’s “Restoring Internet Freedom” should still take effect in June. The House and the President must also vote to overturn the FCC’s decision to repeal net neutrality, which is unlikely.

We Can’t Be Silenced

Hawaiian Senator and Democrat Brian Schatz says a Republican Senator mentioned that his office took more than 6,000 calls from people who support net neutrality; on the flip side, only 10 people called saying they supported the FCC’s decision to repeal net neutrality.

You don’t have to be a web or mobile app developer to understand the importance of a free, open Internet. New York Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer says, “People who use the Internet all the time realize what this is about. Millions of calls, we don’t get that on every issue. People intuitively get this.”

Keep Up the Good Fight

22 states sued the FCC over the repeal. Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T publicly promised not to block or discriminate against legal content after the net neutrality rules expire.

For its part, AT&T says it supports an open Internet and “actual bipartisan legislation that applies to all Internet companies and guarantees neutrality, transparency, openness, non-discrimination and privacy protections for all Internet users.”

However, these companies aren’t known to be the most trustworthy to consumers already; just check out any of their Better Business Bureau profiles for pages upon pages of complaints that overshadow any kinder reviews ever written.

Senator Schumer says, “Let’s treat the Internet like the public good that it is. We don’t let water companies or phone companies discriminate against customers; we don’t restrict access to interstate highways, saying you can ride on the highway, and you can’t. We shouldn’t do that with the Internet either.”

All of this is definitely a victory that shouldn’t be celebrated. The future of the Internet looked quite bleak just a few months ago, but now there’s a glimmer of hope. Stay tuned, and stay active — it’s the only way to save the Internet.

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