In largely symbolic vote, Senate rebukes FCC's net neutrality rollback

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Ars Technica reports that three Republican senators voted along with Democrats today to support the rules. Representative Mike Doyle (D-PA) announced in a statement and at a press conference following the Senate vote that he will begin the process first thing tomorrow morning.

Today, senators voted on a resolution to undo a 2017 move by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to end net neutrality regulations, but major television and print media outlets have devoted little more than a few mentions to the issue.

Several Democratic senators pushed for the vote using the Congressional Review Act - allowing Congress to thwart agency regulations.

Independent of the Senate action today, several states including Washington, Oregon, California and NY, have either proposed net neutrality-like legislation or sought to take legal action to nullify the FCC repeal.

In brief: The FCC's rollback struck a blow to 2015's "Open Internet" ruling, which classified broadband providers as "common carriers" - essentially making them public utilities.

The FCC's repeal faced backlash from net neutrality supporters, who say without regulation, internet service providers, including NBC's parent company Comcast, could block websites, throttle traffic or even create fast lanes for companies that pay for it. If the measure passes the House, it will go to the President, who can veto it if he so chooses.

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Both Thune and Schumer alluded to the fact that net neutrality is popular with voters, with Thune painting the vote as an "attempt to gain partisan advantage" because "people seem to think will be useful in the upcoming election".

"Try polling, instead, should the federal government have the authority to regulate the internet and regulate terms of service and pricing".

Net neutrality is the principle that all traffic on the internet should be treated the same.

Thune has been pushing for bipartisan legislation, a draft of which he proposed in 2015, that would give the FCC limited authority to enforce net neutrality protections.

House minority leader Nancy Pelosi called the vote a "victory for a grassroots", while characterizing the FCC repeal as a "brazen giveaway at the expense of American families and citizens". Hopefully it, too, will hear the strong voice of the American people demanding an open internet and saying "No!" to the telecom and cable monopolies.

In order to roll back Pai's plans permanently, campaigners will need to fight it in the House of Representatives, where the Republican party enjoys a much larger majority than it does in the Senate. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska; Susan Collins, R-Maine; and John Kennedy, R-La. Chairman Wheeler's Net Neutrality is, in a nutshell, zero-price wholesale rate regulation without due process.

In the meantime, more than 20 states have filed lawsuits to save the standard and in places like New Jersey, Washington and California, state legislators have proposed legislation establishing net neutrality rules within their respective state borders.