Senate Democrats are looking to force a vote Wedesday (May 16) on nullifying the FCC's network neutrality deregulation order.
That order, which was approved Dec. 14, 2017, goes into effect June 11 unless the long-shot legislative effort managed to pass the Senate--it is one vote shot but could pass if an ailing Sen. John McCain is unable to vote--finds a couple dozen Republican supporters in the House and is not vetoed by a President who supported the reg rollback.
Senate and House Dems have until June 12 to pass the Congressional Act Resolution, a little-used (before Republicans in this Congress) legislative maneuver to overrule agency decisions.
"Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Senator Bill Nelson (D-Fla.L), and Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) issued a statement that they would be forcing that vote this week., billing it as the final chance to right a Trump Administration wrong.
“The internet should be kept free and open like our highways, accessible and affordable to every American, regardless of ability to pay” said Schumer, Senate Democratic (formerly termed "minority) leader.
Last week, Schumer signaled that one reason to roll back the FCC's reclassification of ISPs as Title I information services rather than Title II common carriers was to preserve the Title II authority to regulate rates as a way to insure that affordability was not a barrier to the adoption.
While FCC chairman Tom Wheeler specifically excluded rate regs from his 2015 Open Internet order, the fact that under Title II rate regs were still a possibility--the FCC forbore from applying them, but could always un-forbear--has always been a big problem for ISPs, and one of the reasons they challenged the order in court.
“The repeal of net neutrality is not only a blow to the average consumer, but it is a blow to public schools, rural Americans, communities of color and small businesses," Schumer continued. "A vote against this resolution will be a vote to protect large corporations and special interests, leaving the American public to pay the price.”
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Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.
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