ND Senate discuss net neutrality, plan moving forward

Net Neutrality changes

The US Senate votes in favour of restoring the FCC's net-neutrality rules

The effort, which has built momentum in recent weeks, also is meant to elevate Net neutrality as a political issue in the fall elections.

"This issue presents a stark contrast: Are you on the side of the large Internet and cable companies, or are you on the side of the average American family?" said Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.

"This is our chance, our best chance, to make sure the Internet stays accessible and affordable for all Americans", he said as the debate began.

Still, Democrats are already using their messaging in campaign material.

Republicans insist they, too, believe in net neutrality, but want to safeguard it by crafting forward-looking legislation rather than reimposing an outdated regulatory structure.

Net neutrality, under which the internet has operated since its inception, ensures that there is no favoritism in internet access.

Senator John Thune, a Republican from South Dakota, said the internet thrived long before the Obama administration stepped in with rules in 2015, and he predicted that when the FCC repeal is in place, consumers won't notice a change in their service.

Fortunately, it looks like we are finally seeing some political pushback on this, as the US Senate voted to repeal the FCC's ruling last night. They were joined by the two independents who usually vote with them, Sens. The CTIA, USTelecom and the NCTA earlier sent a joint letter to senators asking them to vote against the measure. The resolution passed with the backing of all 49 Democratic senators and three Republicans: Susan Collins of Maine, John N. Kennedy of Louisiana and Lisa A. Murkowski of Alaska.

When the FCC overturned it in December, congressman Kevin Cramer said he supports a free and open internet, but calls the democratic "net neutrality" "a political mudslinging match". The measure can not be filibustered in the Senate.

There is not much hope that the resolution will pass the House of Representatives, as Republicans there outnumber Democrates considerably.

Net neutrality rules, enacted under fomer President Barack Obama, prevented internet service providers like Comcast and Verizon from forcing customers to pay extra to access certain websites, or slowing down traffic speeds to certain websites. "But ultimately, I'm confident that their effort to reinstate heavy-handed government regulation of the Internet will fail", he said in a statement. Telecommunications companies oppose the regulations.

A vote summary can be viewed here. The Senate vote is just the first step though, as the vote now goes to the House of Representatives, which has until January 2019 to conduct its own vote.

"We will take a stand to protect our online economy, or we will say goodbye to the Internet as we know it", said Sen.

"This is our chance, our best chance to make sure the internet stays accessible and affordable to all Americans", said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat from NY.

"I think people realize how critical net neutrality is to consumers, to young companies", Markey said.

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