US Senate to vote on draft bill to discard FCC net neutrality repeal

8 Jan 2018

The US Senate is expected to vote on a draft bill that would reverse the order adopted in December 2017 by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to repeal net neutrality rules. The draft bill, accurately termed Congressional resolution of disapproval, would make use of Congress' authority to discard the FCC’s repeal of the 2015 Open Internet order. Having received support from more than 30 Senators (acting as co-sponsors), the bill is now entitled to bypass committee review and move to a Senate floor vote directly. While it is difficult to estimate whether the bill would pass the Senate vote, if this happens, it would nullify the decision taken by the FCC last December, and would also prohibit the Commission from attempting a similar repeal in the future. The FCC order adopted in December is currently awaiting approval from the Office of Management and Budget. Once submitted to the Congress, congressmen have 60 legislative days to pass the draft bill.

Explore the issues

The Internet’s success lies in its design, which is based on the principle of net neutrality. From the outset, the flow of all the content on the Internet was treated without discrimination. New entrepreneurs did not need permission or market power to innovate on the Internet. With the development of new digital services, especially the ones consuming high bandwidth such as high-quality video streaming, some Internet operators (telecom companies and ISPs) started prioritising certain traffic – such as their own services or the services of their business partners – based on business needs and plans, justifying such an approach with a need to raise funds to further invest in the network. Net neutrality proponents strongly fight back such plans arguing this could limit open access to information and online freedoms, and stifle online innovation.

 

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