Senate votes to protect net neutrality rules


The United States Senate voted today to keep the Obama-era net neutrality regulations, but faces an uphill battle elsewhere.

The United States Senate voted yesterday to retain net neutrality rules that were imposed under the Obama administration back in 2015. The Senate voted 52-47, with three Republicans joining all Democrats in an effort to reinstate the guidelines.

Head of the FCC Ajit Pai introduced the Restoring Internet Freedom Order back in December, which will roll back guidelines which currently state internet services are a utility. That classification means that internet providers such as AT&T, Comcast and Verizon can’t discriminate or treat any website any differently from one another. The commission voted 3-2 along party lines to repeal those rules and will soon reclassify the internet  once again as an information service.

Most Americans are in favor of protections for the internet. Those who support the rules say that it prevents internet providers from giving preferential treatment to websites. They worry that companies could charge more for better access to websites.

People who oppose the guidelines say they are restrictive and are nothing more than government overreach. By restricting the internet as a utility, innovation could be stifled.

Although the measure to restore the rules passed the Senate, chances of Congress striking down the FCC’s ruling are low. The House of Representatives still needs to take it to the floor and get a vote. If it does pass, President Trump needs to sign off on it, which doesn’t seem likely.

Language in the FCC’s new order prohibits states from developing their own version of net neutrality. But a number of states are already working on laws to restore protections. They argue that the FCC doesn’t have the authority to bar them from making their own laws.

The repeal of net neutrality rules goes into effect on June 11.