The US senate has voted to save network neutrality. The victory means there is marginal hope for the future of the Internet.
In a tight vote of 52 to 47, US senators have voted to save the Internet. For Internet and digital rights advocates, the development offers a small ray of hope. The move also represents a blow to those hoping to end the Internet free market. As such, this is definitely a setback for the Trump administration and the Republican party.
This latest battle started with FCC chairman Ajit Pai who said that he intends on ending network neutrality. Many point to his connections with Verizon why he made this move in the first place. Then, in December of last year, the FCC held a vote that was split down party lines. In a 3-2 vote, the FCC voted to repeal network neutrality. In February, the decision was entered into the Federal Register. That development meant the battle could officially enter the next stage.
Democrats were working to garner support for legislation that would reverse the FCC’s decision. Back in January, they managed to garner 50 supporters – enough to bring the bill to a vote.
As skeptics have pointed out, this is ultimately a hail Mary shot. It still has to pass in congress which is more tightly controlled by Republicans. Some think that a bill to save the Internet will never fly in that house as a result. Even if it manages to gain enough support for passage, it still has to get president Trump’s signature. That is very unlikely given that Trump has been pushing to kill network neutrality from the beginning.
So, what is the point in all of this? It gets senators and congressmen on record either being for or against the Internet. Such a thing is definitely something that could affect election outcomes.
At this point in time, the outlook for this vote making it into congress isn’t looking good. From the EFF:
Despite the fact that millions of Americans of all stripes want to keep net neutrality, the number of House members supporting the Congressional Review Act (CRA) there languishes below the 218 number needed to pass. The Senate has led the way; now it’s time for the House of Representatives to step up especially as net neutrality is set to expire in June.
You can see where your representatives stand here and then give them a call telling them to use the Congressional Review Act to save the Open Internet Order.
So, the fight is far from over, but even for those who express skepticism towards this vote, it is a victory – however small it may be.