ND Senate discuss net neutrality, plan moving forward

Jeannie Matthews
May 17, 2018

Additionally, a Nexis search for "net neutrality" produced zero results among the nation's top newspapers, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, the New York Post, and USA Today. At least one Republican senator, Lisa Murkowski, remained undecided.

The Democratic senators were only able to secure enough votes thanks to three Republican senators who were ultimately persuaded to vote in favour of the proposal.

The FCC in December repealed rules set under Democratic President Barack Obama that barred internet service providers from blocking or slowing access to content or charging consumers more for certain content. The Congress was allowed to permanently block any federal regulation with a simple majority vote, under the CRA (Congressional Review Act). It will then need the support of every Democrat and 22 Republicans.

WASHINGTON (AP) - Senate Democrats, joined by three Republicans, pushed through a measure Wednesday meant to revive Obama-era internet rules that ensured equal treatment for all web traffic, though opposition in the House and the White House seems insurmountable.

Prior to the vote Senator Hassan spoke on the floor of the Senate, reinforcing the importance of protecting a free and open internet so that all hard-working Granite Staters and businesses across the country can thrive. Telecommunications companies oppose the regulations.

He said that instead, "Democrats have already made clear that the resolution today is about the elections in November".

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"Democrats have chose to take the issue of net neutrality and make it partisan", Republican Senator John Thune of South Dakota said.

"We will take a stand to protect our online economy, or we will say goodbye to the Internet as we know it", said Sen. "We don't let water companies or phone companies discriminate against customers; we don't restrict access to interstate highways, saying you can ride on the highway, and you can't", Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said.

Democrats argued the new FCC rules give too much power to internet service providers, which they fear will throttle down speeds for some websites and services while ramping it up for others who pay more.

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.) denounced the measure as a grandstanding manoeuvre that gets in the way of a bipartisan net neutrality remedy.

If the bill doesn't pass, the new FCC rules repealing net neutrality will go into effect on June 11, but expect to see more challenges in court. Senator John Thune, a Republican from South Dakota, said the internet thrived long before the Obama administration stepped in with rules in 2015, and he predicted that when the FCC repeal is in place, consumers won't notice a change in their service.

Information for this article was contributed by Frank E. Lockwood of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

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