At a press conference, Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts, Congressman Mike Doyle of Pennsylvania, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer of New York, and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi of California announced the House and Senate resolutions to fully restore net neutrality.
In December, the FCC voted 3-2 in favor of repealing 2015 rules that prevented internet service providers from charging extra for, or slowing access to, particular content. It was a big win for companies such as AT&T, Verizon and Comcast that control much of the residential internet landscape.
“President Trump and FCC Chairman Ajit Pai might want to end the internet as we know it, but we won’t agonize, we will organize,” Markey said in a statement. “The grassroots movement to reinstate net neutrality is growing by the day, and we will get that one more vote needed to pass my … resolution. I urge my Republican colleagues to join the overwhelming majority of Americans who support a free and open internet. The internet is for all – the students, teachers, innovators, hard-working families, small businesses, and activists – not just Verizon, Charter, AT&T and Comcast and corporate interests.”
Pai led the commission’s initiative to end the regulations, saying that they stifled innovation and competition.
Last week, the FCC’s rule repealing net neutrality was published in the Federal Register, leaving 60 legislative days to seek a vote on the Senate floor on the resolutions. In order to force a vote on the Senate resolution, Markey said he will submit a discharge petition, which requires a minimum of 30 senators’ signatures. Once the discharge petition is filed, Markey and Senate Democrats will demand a vote on the resolution.
The USTelecom trade association is opposing the resolutions. Its president and CEO Jonathan Spalter called the resolutions “neither pro-consumer nor pro-innovation.”
“While the (resolution) might offer the political equivalent of a temporary sugar high, if Congress truly wants to ensure our internet’s future will be as open, dynamic and free as it has been since its inception, the only way forward is bipartisan legislation that codifies the net neutrality principles our nation’s broadband providers have committed to uphold once and for all,” he said. “America’s consumers expect and deserve nothing less.”
In the meantime, California and New York are among several states challenging the FCC’s net neutrality decision.