The U.S. Senate May 16 voted to overturn the Federal Communications Commission’s repeal of so-called net neutrality provisions enacted under President Obama.
The 52-47 vote spearheaded by senate Democrats and three Republicans would use the Congressional Review Act to essentially veto the FCC’s 3-2 vote last December to deregulate the broadband industry that was set to go into effect in June.
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) joined Democrats in the resolution.
Galen Smith, CEO of Redbox, applauded the move. “Net Neutrality aligns with Redbox’s pro-consumer position of providing a multitude of viewing options across physical and digital formats,” he said.
Richard Siklos, VP, corporate communications at Netflix, also expressed his support for the Senate move, telling Media Play News, “We are supporting the effort through the Internet Association.”
Internet Association President and CEO Michael Beckerman issued the following statement on the passage of the CRA to restore net neutrality rules for consumers:
“The Internet industry commends the Senate for its work to reinstate net neutrality rules through the CRA and urges the House of Representatives to work to protect people’s access to a free and open internet. Guaranteed access to the entire internet is not a partisan issue. An overwhelming majority of Americans support net neutrality protections that ban blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization. It is time for Congress to pass strong, enforceable net neutrality protections—through the CRA or bipartisan legislation—that provide consumers the protections they deserve.”
The resolution must now go to the House of Representatives, where Republicans hold a 235-193 seat majority — and are not as pro-net neutrality.
Should it pass the House and gain President Trump’s signature (no small task), Internet Service Providers on cable, satellite and telco would again be subject to regulation as a utility, which was used as a framework to establish rules barring blocking, throttling and paid priority for media content delivered over the Web.
“Net neutrality is the free speech issue of our time,” said Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.).
FCC chairman Ajit Pai, who spearheaded the agency’s repeal of net neutrality, said it was 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,” Pai said in a statement.