The US Senate has today voted against the FCC’s repeal of Net Neutrality, with a vote of 52 to 47. The reasoning behind the missing vote is due to Sen. John McCain of Arizona currently being treated at home for brain cancer. This victory, however, is not finalised; the repeal needs to make its way past the House of Representatives, and then President Donald Trump will need to sign off on the reinstatement.
Failure at this point would, however, not be the end of Net Neutrality’s reinstatement; at least 24 states in the US are at this time considering launching their own forms of Net Neutrality through protective legislation.
CNN reported that 3 of the voters in favour of Net Neutrality were Republicans, while the other 49 were Democrats. Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and John Kennedy of Louisiana were the 3 Republican voters. CNN stated, “While Collins’ support had been public leading up to the vote, Murkowski’s and Kennedy’s ‘yes’ votes came as a surprise to some.”
Murkowski told reporters, “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.”
The original FCC repeal came under the direction of Republican chairman Ajit Pai last December The Net Neutrality protections themselves are still set to expire June 11th. Major businesses with an online presence, such as Google and Facebook, have spoken out in favour of Net Neutrality. While some states have taken action into their own hands by suing the FCC, delaying the repeal process.
The main Democratic argument in this case, was that the rules set in place by the FCC would give to much power to network providers in the US, giving them the ability to charge for better internet speeds or disrupt the usage of online services in favour of those who pay for their products. We should hear more about this major US event in the near future.
By Jimmy Ioannou
Image of Ajit Pai, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission – Provided by ANDREW HARRER/BLOOMBERG