The Senate may have only symbolically voted to undo the Federal Communications Commission’s net neutrality repeal but other efforts are underway to bring back the overwhelmingly popular regulations.
Democratic senators and a few Republican senators passed a resolution on Wednesday to undo the FCC’s decision, though the House is not likely to do the same. Plus, President Donald Trump is reportedly happy with the FCC’s decision in December to undo net neutrality and is also not likely to sign the resolution.
Under the Obama administration, regulations prevented internet service providers, or ISPs, from blocking or slowing down certain websites, which could establish preferential treatment, and from charging more for fast lanes. In December, the FCC voted to repeal net neutrality.
On Wednesday afternoon, Democratic senators used the Congressional Review Act, a little-used tool until congressional Republicans had the numbers to reverse Obama-era regulations after the 2016 election. The 2015 rules will officially be repealed on June 11, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced last week.
But the FCC decision only marked the beginning of several efforts to enshrine the regulations for good. For one, at least 23 state attorney generals jointly filed a lawsuit to block the repeal.
San Francisco is setting up long-term assurances by choosing a provider to head a citywide fiber network that makes net neutrality a requirement. And in California, State Sen. Scott Wiener’s bill to restore net neutrality statewide got a big boost in a committee vote.
Companies like Santa-Rosa based Sonic promised to keep net neutrality intact. Big providers like AT&T and Comcast largely have not made clear promises of their future plans, The Verge reports.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a Republican representing California, told The Washington Post that lawmakers would work on a separate bill to finalize the issue, though it’s not clear what would be included.
If anything, the symbolic vote keeps net neutrality in conversation and the actions of Democratic senators might very well be remembered during this year’s midterm elections.