Senate Democrats Seek One More For Net Neutrality Vote

More headaches for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) as Democrats in the US Senate launch a last ditch attempt to reinstate net neutrality rules in the United States.

The Democrats need just one more vote to win a majority in the Senate to overturn the FCC order.

That said however, it is highly likely the FCC’s decision will be backed by Republican-controlled House of Representatives. And if the Democrats got their way, President Donald Trump could well use his veto on any Senate vote.

Net Neutrality

The FCC, under the leadership of republican chairman Ajit Pai, had voted 3-2 in December to overturn Net Neutrality regulations, in a move that many feel will damage the future of an open Internet in the United States.

Last week the FCC published its reversal order in the Federal Register, a US government website. This process then freed a coalition of 22 state attorneys generals to launch their own legal challenges to halt the FCC’s action.

And now according to Reuters, Democrats said on Tuesday that the issue would feature heavily in the mid-term election, especially among younger voters.

And the reversal is also being fought in the US Senate, where the Democrats could force a vote on the issue by 15 March (a vote has to take place by 20 June).

Democrats control 49 seats in the 100-person chamber, and have the backing of 50 senators for repeal, leaving them one vote short of a majority. Democrats need 51 votes to win any proposal in the Republican-controlled Senate because Vice President Mike Pence can break any tie.

Obama Law

The landmark net neutrality rules had been delivered under the former Obama administration, and essentially it barred service providers from blocking, slowing access to or charging more for certain content.

The FCC’s reversal of those rules had been driven by Pai (appointed by President Trump), who had made no secret of his intention to remove the Obama era net neutrality rules.

Pai previously said net neutrality were “a mistake” and he favoured a ‘light touch’ regime of regulation that would ‘not stifle innovation’.

Yet the overturning of the net neutrality rules had been as opposed by many in the tech industry and beyond.

Indeed, such was the fallout from the decision, that Pai in January this year unexpectedly cancelled an appearance at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas because of death threats.

Quiz: The past, present and future of 4G networks

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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