The Senate on Wednesday voted to reinstate the FCC's net neutrality rules, passing a bill that has little chance of advancing in the House but offers net neutrality supporters and Democrats a political rallying point for the midterm elections.
Equally as predictably, Commissioner JESSICA ROSENWORCEL took the opposite position from PAI, with a statement reading "Today the UNITED STATES Senate took a big step to fix the serious mess the FCC made when it rolled back net neutrality late past year".
The margin was larger than expected with three Republicans voting with 47 Democrats and two independents to reverse the Trump administration action. "Other than health care and taxes, this is one of the issues that has motivated most grassroots activity, " he said. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska backed the measure to halt the repeal, according to CNN.
"Let's treat the internet like the public good that it is".More news: Hundreds protest after bloodshed in Gaza as US Embassy opens in Jerusalem
Democrats in the Senate could prevail in a vote as they have at least 50 votes with all of their party on board, plus Sen.
The internet should be kept free and open like our highways, accessible and affordable to every American, regardless of ability to pay. But a House vote is seen as unlikely to consider the legislation.
"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. Republicans used this talking point to argue that ISPs shouldn't be forced to operate under different rules than websites in their support for ending net neutrality protections.
The revised rules were a win for internet service providers, whose practices faced significant government oversight and FCC investigations under the 2015 order.More news: Margot Kidder, who played Superman's Lois Lane, dies aged 69
Despite surviving a court challenge from broadband industry groups seeking to overturn the rules in 2016, they came under fire again a year later - this time from the agency's new Republican leadership.
The effort, which has built momentum in recent weeks, also is meant to elevate net neutrality as a political issue in the fall elections. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, part of the Republican majority, has said the Obama rule was "heavy-handed" and isn't needed. "The grandparents, the gamers, the gearheads, the geeks, the gif-makers, the Generations X, Y, and Z. This movement to save net neutrality is made up of every walk of American life", he said.
A major objection about the rules was the FCC's decision to classify broadband as a more highly regulated utility-like service under Title 2 of federal telecommunications law.More news: Iraq election: Shia rivals of PM Abadi 'make gains'