The US Senate voted to retain existing laws around net neutrality, in what will likely prove to be a token gesture against the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) proposals to scrap the legislation.
For a block on the FCC’s policy to be upheld, it would have to be ratified by the county’s other legislators.
Following the vote, Reuters reported comments from senior Democrats stating they would try to force a vote on the issue in the House of Representatives which, should it go their way, would further crank up pressure on the FCC and White House to rethink their positions.
Even if a vote goes ahead, given the Republican Party holds a majority in the House of Representatives, it would require a significant number to oppose official policy.
Members of the Senate have been pushing for the retention of current regulation preserving net neutrality since the FCC’s decision to repeal the order in favour of new “light-touch” rules in December 2017.
Current legislation – introduced by the FCC under the previous presidential administration – has been the subject of fierce debate with strong opinions on both sides. Opponents claim the law is too heavy handed and restricts investment, while those in favour cite concerns around internet freedom.
So strong is the feeling among some parties, FCC chairman Ajit Pai has been on the receiving end of personal protests and even death threats, which forced him to cancel his appearance at CES in January.