Net neutrality suffered a major setback when FCC voted 3-2 to have the 2015 rules repealed. However, the fight is far from over as concerned parties continue to find different ways to protect internet freedom.
Tech Firms Sue FCC for Net Neutrality Repeal
Tech firms continue to fight to have the net neutrality rules reinstated. Internet Association, a lobbying organization founded by Silicon Valley internet firms has finally made its move and is now suing the FCC over the rules’ repeal.
The goal of the tech industry lobbying group is simple – to have the Obama-era net neutrality rules reinstated. Under the rules, broadband companies are prohibited from blocking traffic as well as charging sites to have content prioritized.
“Absent effective net neutrality rules, both online consumers and companies are left to the mercy of broadband provider gatekeepers,” the Internet Association explained via its legal papers filed with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Consumer advocates likewise agree with the lobby group’s position. Many believe that without net neutrality rules guiding the marketplace, broadband providers might censoring sites or undermine the services of their competitors such as Netflix.
Senate Democrats Vow To Fight Net Neutrality Reinstatement
Meanwhile, there is still hope for net neutrality rules to be reinstated at the national level. This hope could come during the 2018 mid-term elections with Democrat senators promising that reinstating the Obama-era rules is one of their priorities.
Democrats hope to reel in additional seats in the Senate during this year’s mid-term voting. Currently, they control 49 seats in the 100-person chamber. To successfully win any Senate proposal, the group needs to secure 51 seats.
Democrats are positioning themselves as proponents of free internet with their pro-net neutrality stance. Targeting the younger internet-loving voters, New York Democrat Senator Charles Schumer likened FCC’s repeal as allowing internet service providers to potentially blocking “a young couple from watching Netflix programming or a college student from watching an educational video.”
Of course, Schumer is blaming Republicans for it while heralding Democrats as the group that could potentially fix the net. If net neutrality proponents could successfully lobby for a bill in the Senate, they still have to face the tougher challenge of having it passed in the House of Representatives, which is controlled by Republicans.
State-level Net Neutrality
On top of trying to reinstate net neutrality rules at the national level, various states are likewise busy to pass net neutrality legislation within their jurisdiction.
For instance, Minnesota lawmakers have vowed to fight the retention of net neutrality within their area. State Rep. Paul Thissen and state Sen. Ron Latz have sponsored bills specifically targeting companies doing business in Minnesota to uphold what they term as “commonsense net neutrality principles.”
“Allowing corporations to decide what we can access online sets a dangerous precedent and is contrary to the values we hold as Minnesotans,” explained Ron Latz.
At the same time, Massachusetts plans to create a registry of ISPs to encourage fair internet practice. The Special Senate Committee on Net Neutrality and Consumer Protection recommended legislation that will ban ISPs found to have blocked certain content or slowing down speeds for certain sites or those that accept fees for a faster connection. Washington have already passed a similar bill earlier.
Regardless of what happens in the national or state levels, some companies that continue to practice net neutrality. For instance, dnet has always valued internet freedom and will continue to treat every content or site equally.