Economy

ND Senate discuss net neutrality, plan moving forward

ND Senate discuss net neutrality, plan moving forward

John Boozman, R-Ark., said in a written statement.

Comcast Corp., Verizon Communications Inc. and AT&T Inc. have pledged to not block or discriminate against legal content after the net neutrality rules expire.

Additionally, a Nexis search for "net neutrality" produced zero results among the nation's top newspapers, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, the New York Post, and USA Today.

However, plans of the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to end net neutrality, now set for 11 June, are unlikely to be derailed - as the Senate's move would need the support of not only the heavily Republican House of Representatives but also President Donald Trump himself. Without those, telecom companies could quash competition and free speech on the Internet - a response consumer groups warn is increasingly likely as Netflix and other streaming services eat up the telecoms' bandwidth. While the issue has little hope of advancing to a vote in the House, it provides Democrats with a rallying point during the upcoming midterm election season. They were joined by the two independents who usually vote with them, Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, John Kennedy of Louisiana and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.

Neither tipped a hand until they voted a few hours earlier Wednesday to move the measure past a procedural hurdle. The measure can not be filibustered in the Senate.

"The House Republicans don't have to choose the same path that the vast majority of Senate Republicans in the Senate chose", Schumer said during the news conference.

Net neutrality is the principle that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) should provide equal access to all applications, content, platforms, and websites, and can not discriminate against content or content providers by making certain web page, applications, or videos load faster or slower than others. Tech giants such as Google and Facebook have been vocal in their support for the retention of the rules.

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Prior to the vote Senator Hassan spoke on the floor of the Senate, reinforcing the importance of protecting a free and open internet so that all hard-working Granite Staters and businesses across the country can thrive.

Polls have shown strong public backing for Net neutrality. Republicans on the short end of the 52-47 vote described the effort to reinstate "net neutrality" rules as "political theater" because the GOP-controlled House is not expected to take up the issue and the Senate's margin could not overcome a presidential veto.

Before the vote, Senator Ed Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat, urged fellow senators to disregard the "armies of lobbyists marching the halls of Congress on behalf of big internet service providers".

Fox Business and One American News Network, a decidedly pro-Trump outlet known for pushing conspiracy theories, aired full reports of the net neutrality vote.

Even if the resolution fails, many states, including California and NY, are doing all they can to fight back against the FCC's decision with their own net neutrality proposals.

Trump-appointed FCC Chairman Ajit Pai led the vote to dismantle net neutrality rules.

Information for this article was contributed by Frank E. Lockwood of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.