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Tag Archives: net-neutrality

ISPs and Ajit Pai are really sad about Senate’s vote for net neutrality

Enlarge / MAY 16, 2018: Senate Minority Leader Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) at a press conference after a Senate vote to maintain net neutrality rules. (credit: Getty Images | Congressional Quarterly) Broadband lobby groups and FCC Chairman Ajit Pai are upset about yesterday's US Senate vote to restore net neutrality rules and are calling on Republican lawmakers to kill the effort in the House. Yesterday's Senate vote "throws into reverse our shared goal of maintaining an open, thriving Internet," said  USTelecom, which represents AT&T, Verizon, CenturyLink, and other telcos. USTelecom claimed to speak on behalf of Internet users, saying that "Consumers want permanent, comprehensive online protections, not half measures or election year posturing from our representatives in Congress." Read 12 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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After Senate victory, House announces plans to force its own vote on net neutrality

Hot on the heels of a surprising 52-47 Senate disapproval of the FCC’s new, weaker net neutrality rules, the House of Representatives will soon attempt to force a similar vote under the Congressional Review Act. Representative Mike Doyle (D-PA) announced in a statement and at a press conference following the Senate vote that he will begin the process first thing tomorrow morning. “I have introduced a companion CRA in the house,” Rep. Doyle said, “but I’m also going to begin a discharge petition which we will have open for signature tomorrow morning. And I urge every member who’s uproots a free and open internet to join me and sign this petition so we can bring this legislation to the floor.” The CRA requires Senate and House to submit the resolution itself, in the former’s case Joint Resolution 52 , after which a certain number of people to sign off on what’s called a discharge petition, actually forces a vote. Senate votes to reverse FCC order and restore net neutrality In the Senate this number is only 30, which makes it a useful tool for the minority party, which can easily gather that many votes if it’s an important issue (a full majority is still required to pass the resolution). But in the House a majority is required, 218 at present. That’s a more difficult ask, since Democrats only hold 193 seats there. They’d need two dozen Republicans to switch sides, and while it’s clear from the defection of three Senators from the party line that such bipartisan support is possible, it’s far from a done deal. Today’s success may help move the needle, though. Should the required votes be gathered, which could happen tomorrow, or take much longer, the vote will then be scheduled, though a Congressional aide I talked to was unsure how quickly it would follow. It only took a week in the Senate to go from petition to floor vote, but that period could be longer in the House depending on how the schedule works out.

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Senate votes to reverse FCC order and restore net neutrality

The Senate today voted 52-47 to disapprove the FCC’s recent order replacing 2015’s net neutrality rules, a pleasant surprise for internet advocates and consumers throughout the country. Although the disapproval will almost certainly not lead to the new rules being undone, it is a powerful statement of solidarity with a constituency activated against this deeply unpopular order. To be clear, the FCC’s “Restoring Internet Freedom” is still set to take effect in June. BREAKING: The Senate just voted to restore #NetNeutrality ! We won. To all of those who kept fighting and didn’t get discouraged: you did this. You raised your voices and we heard you. Thank you. Now the fight continues. On to the House! — Ed Markey (@SenMarkey) May 16, 2018 Senate Joint Resolution 52 officially disapproves the rule under the Congressional Review Act, which allows Congress to undo recently created rules by federal agencies. It will have to pass in the House as well and then be signed by the president for the old rules to be restored (that or a two-thirds majority, which is equally unlikely).

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Senate votes to overturn Ajit Pai’s net neutrality repeal

Enlarge / WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 09, 2018: Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) speaks during a news conference on a petition to force a vote on net neutrality. Also pictured are Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.). (credit: Getty Images | Zach Gibson) The US Senate today voted to reverse the Federal Communications Commission's repeal of net neutrality rules, with all members of the Democratic caucus and three Republicans voting in favor of net neutrality. The Senate approved a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution that would simply undo the FCC's December 2017 vote to deregulate the broadband industry. If the CRA is approved by the House and signed by President Trump, Internet service providers would have to continue following rules that prohibit blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has scheduled his repeal to take effect on June 11. If Congress doesn't act, the net neutrality rules and the FCC's classification of ISPs as common carriers would be eliminated on that date. Read 35 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Senate votes today on rollback of net neutrality rollback

Today’s the big day for the Senate’s big push to undo the FCC’s “Restoring Internet Freedom” order nullifying 2015’s net neutrality rules . A vote is scheduled for this afternoon on whether to repeal that order, though as of this writing the coalition is still one vote shy of making it happen. The vote is an application of the Congressional Review Act, which as you might guess from the name allows Congress to review and if necessary undo recent regulations enacted by federal agencies. It’s been seldom used for decades but the current administration has been very free with it as a method of squelching rules passed in the twilight of the Obama era. Today Senate Democrats strike back with the same weapon. A simple majority is required, but right now only a single Republican Senator, Maine’s Susan Collins, has courageously stepped across the aisle to join the Democrat-led effort. One more would pass the bill, though it would still have to get through the House and the President’s desk, making its prognosis poor. The FCC just repealed net neutrality. What happens next? That matters little, though: until today, many Senators will have been able to largely stay silent on the issue, and a vote to support this highly unpopular rule may come back to bite them come midterms. Net neutrality may very well be an issue constituencies care about, or at least that’s what Democratic challengers are hoping for. On the other hand, a Democratic-led CRA is a direct, partisan attack on the administration, which has supported this FCC’s actions, and would cause return to Obama-era rules, which few Republicans would relish.

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Net neutrality will officially die on June 11

After months of tension and a variety of smaller milestones, the FCC order voiding 2015’s net neutrality rules and instating its own, much weaker ones will finally take effect on June 11, the agency’s chairman Ajit Pai said today . Although the rule was approved in December, entered into the Federal Register in February, and under ordinary circumstances would have taken effect in April, “Restoring Internet Freedom” had one extra step that needed to be taken. The Office of Management and Budget needed to take a look at the rule because it changed how the industry reported information to the government, and under the Paperwork Reduction Act that authority had to approve the final version. That approval was granted on May 2, the FCC explained in a news release, and June 11 was picked as the effective date “to give providers time to comply with the transparency requirement.” The Congressional Review Act paperwork filed yesterday means the Senate will soon be voting on whether the rules can stay in place, but the likelihood of that bill passing the Senate and House and getting signed by the President is pretty much nil. Still, the votes will put proponents and opponents of net neutrality in the open and potentially make it an election issue. Lawsuits alleging various flaws in the process or rule itself may eventually cause it to be rolled back, but that will take months, if not years, and lacking evidence of direct harm judges are unlikely to take the rules out of effect while considering the case. Don’t expect much to happen immediately should the new rule take place; the industry is too savvy to blast out some new, abusive rules under the far more permissive framework established by this FCC. But as before, consumers will often be the first to spot shady behaviors and subtle changes to the wording of marketing or user agreements, so keep your eyes open and tip your friendly neighborhood tech blog if you see something. In a statement accompanying Pai’s announcement, Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel made her position clear: The agency failed to listen to the American public and gave short shrift to their deeply held belief that internet openness should remain the law of the land. The agency turned a blind eye to serious problems in its process—from Russian intervention to fake comments to stolen identities in its files. The FCC is on the wrong side of history, the wrong side of the law, and the wrong side of the American people. It deserves to have its handiwork revisited, reexamined, and ultimately reversed

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Senators file to force vote on disapproval of FCC’s new net neutrality rules

The Democratic push to restore net neutrality took another step today with the official filing of a petition, under the Congressional Review Act, to force a vote on whether to repeal the FCC’s unpopular new rules. The effort may be doomed in the end, but it’s still extremely important. The CRA is a way of reversing rules recently instated by federal agencies; it’s simple and effective, though, until this administration, rarely used (but they made up for lost time, all right). Its expedited process and low bar to entry — only 30 senators are needed to bring a vote, and the vote generally happens quite quickly — have made it an ideal tool for Congress to undo Obama-era regulations, but the shoe is on the other foot now. Democrats in the Senate are using the CRA as a potential method of removing the rules the FCC voted for in December and returning to 2015’s Open Internet Order and strong net neutrality rules. Today they filed the actual petition to force the vote. “This is the fight for the internet,” said Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) in a press conference introducing the action. “By passing this resolution, we can send a clear message that this Congress won’t fall to the special interest agenda of President Trump and his broadband baron allies, but rather will do right by the people that send us here.” You can watch the whole proceeding below: Today, the petition that allows U.S. Senate Democrats to force a vote on my resolution to save #NetNeutrality is being officially filed.We are approaching the most important vote for the internet in the history of the Senate, and we are just #OneMoreVote away from securing victory. Join me and my colleagues in this historic moment and help us kick off a week of action to #SaveTheInternet: Posted by Senator Edward J. Markey on Wednesday, May 9, 2018 Right now there are 50 senators supporting the measure, including one Republican. The Democrats are hoping to make this issue extremely visible in order to put pressure on other, perhaps undecided, Republicans who might cross the aisle with enough prodding from their constituency. As I’ve written before , and as Senators themselves have admitted, the chance of this actually rolling back the rules is low, since it would have to also pass through the House, where Democrats are at a more serious disadvantage, then be signed by the president, which is unlikely, to say the least

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Ajit Pai gives a nice nothingburger to those in Congress demanding answers on net neutrality

Around the time of the FCC’s vote to roll back existing 2015 rules and replace them with threadbare new ones, many senators and representatives were sending stern letters to the agency informing its chairman of their displeasure . Pai has recently responded to these diverse voices of concern — with a form letter repeating the same misinformation he and other proponents were spouting all through 2017. Dozens in Congress received the same letter in the past couple of weeks, regardless of their position on the issue or the contents of their own letters. “It is alarming that throughout the course of your deliberations, one must look far and wide for advocates of your proposal. Additionally, I have not heard from a single constituent in South Texas who is in favor of giving up Net Neutrality,” wrote Representative Vicente Gonzales (D-TX) in late November. “It is not enough for the FCC to turn its back on consumers. You willfully plan to tie states’ hands to prevent them from protecting their own residents. It is a stunning regulatory overreach,” reads a letter signed by 39 senators in December. “Underlying your plan is the false notion that your action will return the internet to the supposed halcyon days of “light touch” regulation from the past… Even under the Bush-era FCC, the agency adopted open internet principles and held out the threat of regulatory action to combat harmful activity.” “How does the FCC intend to address the concerns of small business regarding the appeal of Net Neutrality that may lead to a lack of competition in the ISP market?” asks Representative Pittenger (R-NC), in a friendlier but still critical letter. “Do you plan to accompany the elimination of Net Neutrality with deregulating efforts to expand and open the construction of needed Internet infrastructure in order to ensure sufficient competition?” There’s even a letter from multiple Republican representatives that is almost doglike in its vapid admiration (“The record is exhaustive, every viewpoint is well represented, and the time has come for the Commission to act”) and parrot-like in its repetition of talking points (“We write today in support of the FCC’s plan to restore Internet freedom by reversing… a statutory scheme created for the monopoly telephone carriers of a bygone era.”) To all these and more, Chairman Ajit Pai has the same vague, redundant response presenting the standard distortions of the campaign to replace the 2015 rules: In early 2015, the FCC jettisoned this successful, bipartisan approach to the Internet and decided to subject the Internet to utility-style regulation designed in the 1930s to govern Ma Bell… Under Title II, annual investment in high-speed networks declined by billions of dollars… By returning to the light-touch Title I framework, we are helping consumers and promoting competition. Practically everything he writes has been challenged by experts or is a misrepresentation of the facts. You can find the details of most of these arguments, and their counter-arguments, here

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Senate Democrats plan to push rollback of FCC’s new net neutrality rules in May

One of the several ways opponents of the FCC’s new net neutrality rules plan to push back is to use the Congressional Review Act to nix the Commission’s order before it has a chance to take effect. Although Democrats in the Senate are currently one vote short of success, they plan to force the vote soon anyway, perhaps as early as mid-May. As explained in other posts about the steps that can be taken to combat the unpopular Restoring Internet Freedom order, the CRA allows for a quick vote on whether to roll back a recently established regulation. The current administration used it a great deal to undo later Obama-era rules, but now the shoe is on the other foot — partially, anyway. So far Senate Democrats have a total of 50 votes, including that of Republican Susan Collins — much more than required to force a vote but one short of the 51 needed to pass the resolution. And even if it did passed, its chances of passing in the House are even smaller, and after that, it would be DOA on the President’s desk. The FCC just repealed net neutrality. What happens next? But as many have pointed out, the goal isn’t just to roll back the rules, but to get everyone on Congress to weigh in on the record whether they support the new rules or not. This will be critical to making net neutrality an issue in the 2018 midterms. Hopes that another Republican Senator will voluntarily cross the aisle seem to have petered out, and so Democrats are reportedly planning to press the button on May 9, after which procedural step it could be as little as a week before the vote actually takes place. Politico and Fight for the Future reported the date, which was not disputed by a Senator’s aide I contacted. The latter is organizing a bit of online activism around the CRA, which you can follow here .

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