Senate votes to protect net neutrality

Net Neutrality protesters. Sign reads 'Give Us Our Gifs'

Senate votes to protect net neutrality

Wednesday the Senate voted 52-47, with all Democrats and three Republicans in the majority, to kill the FCC rule favoring a handful of large corporations and restore, as law, "net neutrality" as the internet's governing principle.

All 49 Democrats voted in favour of the resolution, along with three Republican Senators: John Kennedy of Louisiana, Susan Collins of ME, and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.

Net neutrality supporters are using a legislative tactic, the Congressional Review Act, that allows lawmakers to block an action taken by a federal agency with a simple majority vote in the House and Senate and the president's approval.

Representative Mike Doyle, a Democrat, said he would launch an effort on Thursday to try to force a House vote and needs the backing of at least two dozen Republicans.

"I voted to hopefully get beyond the politics on this, which is the seesaw back and forth between Republican FCC and a Democratic FCC that doesn't lend any level of certainty to the process", she told reporters. "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", Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said.

"A free and open internet is a building block for the 21st Century and we must pursue ways to help it flourish", Sen.

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

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The Democratic senators were only able to secure enough votes thanks to three Republican senators who were ultimately persuaded to vote in favour of the proposal. 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.

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai said it was "disappointing" that Senate Democrats forced the resolution through by a narrow margin.

Senator Kamala Harris in a statement: "Broadband service providers - the gatekeepers to the Internet - have the technical means and business incentive to distort the online marketplace".

Democrats argued the new FCC rules give too much power to internet service providers, which they fear will throttle down speeds for some websites and services while ramping it up for others who pay more. But the new rules are opposed by internet firms like Facebook Inc and Alphabet Inc.

Net neutrality advocates rally February 27 at the Capitol. In January of this year, 22 attorneys general across the country commenced legal action against the FCC's decision.

AT&T said Wednesday it backs 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".

Bitcoin and cryptocurrency may be decentralized but people buy and sell them on exchanges hosted by internet service providers.

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