Internet activists and tech companies are kicking off a series of protests on Wednesday to draw attention to net neutrality once again. When the GOP-led Federal Communications Commission voted last year to revoke the agency’s net neutrality rules for Internet providers, many Democratic policymakers vowed to oppose the decision, arguing that the FCC’s policy change could benefit ISPs at the expense of regular Internet users. Now that effort faces a critical test, as the expected legislation is aimed at restoring the net neutrality rules.
What’s net neutrality about?
I invented the web as an open, permissionless space #foreveryone. The FCC’s repeal of #NetNeutrality threatens to take that away. Tell the Senate they must protect net neutrality to keep the web open: https://t.co/B73BzfwMi0 #RedAlert cc @lisamurkowski @SenJohnKennedy @JeffFlake
— Tim Berners-Lee (@timberners_lee) May 9, 2018
Net neutrality is the idea that ISPs shouldn’t block or slow down websites and apps as their content makes its way to your screen. It also holds that Internet providers shouldn’t be allowed to offer faster delivery to websites and apps in exchange for extra fees, out of fear that big companies could use their wealth to buy preferential treatment and squeeze out the competition.
A Democratic-led FCC voted in 2015 to turn those principles into a set of codified regulations. The following year, a federal court upheld the rules against Internet providers who argued that the regulations were too restrictive and harmed their ability to make more money and invest in next-generation infrastructure.
The rules came under fire again, however, when the Republicans retook the FCC as a result of the 2016 election. Last year, in a 3-2 vote led by Chairman Ajit Pai, the FCC moved to roll back the net neutrality rules.
This document is historic. In addition to stripping away the specific net neutrality rules, the FCC proposal went further — saying that the agency doesn’t have the legal authority that it had used to regulate Internet providers with the 2015 rules. A world with no net neutrality will for sure come to an end, meaning that the user of the Internet has to pay more to access the internet content than that you want. But it also might crush innovation. And that is cruel.
The FCC vote effectively changed the scope of what the federal government considers a net neutrality violation and placed much of the responsibility for enforcing those violations in the hands of another agency, the Federal Trade Commission.
The CRA, which Republicans used to revoke more than a dozen Obama-era rules, sets up a speedy timeline for action in Congress and only requires a majority vote in the Senate.
[Update: 09/05/2018 (By Manish Rath)]
Democrats in the Senate have forced to vote to decide whether to uphold net neutrality regulations. Federal Communications Commision chairman Ajit Pai repealed NN rules in December. They were created in 2015 to keep internet providers from slowing down or speeding up some websites. on Wednesday, Senator Ed Mark and other senators petition to keep NN standards in place using the Congressional Review Act. It allows rules by federal agencies to be overturned within 60 legislative days of the introduction. 50 senators support the resolution most of them, Democrats. One Republican senator Susan Collins also supports the measure. But it still needs one vote to gain Majority in head to the House.
STARTING SOON: We're forcing a vote to save #netneutrality. The countdown clock starts now.
— Senate Democrats (@SenateDems) May 9, 2018
More than a dozen of websites team up and support the Red Alert. Pornhub, Reddit, and Etsy to join ‘Red Alert’ over FCC’s decision.
Do you own a website? Join the battle for the internet. Move over to Battle For The Net to support the cause and make your own stand.
The Senate is about to vote on whether to save net neutrality or let it die. Play your part.