The U.S. Senate voted to overturn the FCC’s egregious Net Neutrality repeal today by passing their resolution of disapproval! Now the fight goes to the U.S. House of Representatives.
Net Neutrality is the principle that internet service providers (ISPs), should treat all web content equally, which means that your ISP shouldn’t throttle (slow down), block, or otherwise interfere with your internet activity. People often mistake Net Neutrality as a law, or even a rule.
Net Neutrality is an idea, concept, or principle, just like freedom isn’t a law, it’s an idea, concept, and principle. In the USA, we were all taught that freedom was the motivation for the Declaration of Independence, and the Bill of Rights. Likewise, Net Neutrality is the ideal and standard that inspired the 2015 Open Internet Order.
That was the official rule and policy the FCC implemented in 2015, which described in detail how the internet was to remain free from censorship, blocking, throttling, or any other interference meant to restrict your access to information and content online. Think of this as the internet version of the Bill of Rights. That might make it easier to put this into perspective. This was why millions of people were catalyzed into action and told their public officials to support Net Neutrality, and we were the avalanche that swept away FCC Chairman and former Verizon attorney Ajit Pai’s repeal of Net Neutrality.
But this was only round one, and it was closer than it should have been. The Senate voted 52-47 in favor of reversing the FCC’s terrible and wrong decision. That’s too close for comfort. That shows that almost half of our Senators want to take away our voice and freedom online. Now the fight moves to the House, where there are over 160 sponsors of the resolution of disapproval (of the Net Neutrality repeal).
The reason we need an official policy on Net Neutrality is because ISPs have been implicated in the past with violating Net Neutrality. Both Comcast and AT&T are among those who were caught ¹. This contradicts Pai’s claims that ISPs will not mess with people’s internet connections, and that they will supposedly self-regulate. He hopes that people who are aren’t familiar or savvy with Net Neutrality will believe him just because of his official authority. However, it’s exactly the type of bogus claim that he makes all the time: totally false, ridiculous claims, which completely ignore reality.
Since this is my website, I can say whatever I want (I will admit my bias in favor of Net Neutrality), and you can view it, because you (thus far) have been protected by the principle of Net Neutrality. In the past, Net Neutrality still existed, but its official wording was questionable. The ISPs challenged it and beat it in court, because of the incorrect way it was worded legally. That caused the FCC to have to fix the language of it, and made the “official Net Neutrality” policy, the 2015 Open Internet Order ². Which Pai his ISP buddies ruined and took away. Because they’re greedy and all they care about is money.
So, good work everyone who called, emailed, and wrote to their public servants to save Net Neutrality! You deserve a pat on the back and a high five. Now, let’s tell our representatives that we demand that they support the resolution of disapproval. The internet is everyone’s and so we should do what we can to save it. But round two will be more difficult, because Republicans control the House, and almost all of them oppose Net Neutrality, and the resolution of disapproval ³.
Brodkin, Jon. “Senate Votes to Overturn Ajit Pai’s Net Neutrality Repeal.” Ars Technica, Ars Technica, 16 May 2018, arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2018/05/senate-votes-to-overturn-ajit-pais-net-neutrality-repeal.
- United States, Congress, “Federal Communications Commission.” Federal Communications Commission, 12 Mar. 2015. www.fcc.gov/document/fcc-releases-open-internet-order.
Karr, Timothy. “In Big Win for Open-Internet Advocates, Senate Votes to Undo 2017 Net Neutrality Repeal.” Free Press, Free Press, 16 May 2018, www.freepress.net/news/press-releases/big-win-open-internet-advocates-senate-votes-undo-2017-net-neutrality-repeal.