The US Senate has voted to restore net neutrality rules in a last-ditch effort to protect the free and open internet.
In a joint resolution, which passed by 52-47 votes on Wednesday, the Senate disapproved the Federal Communication Commission’s controversial decision to ditch the web’s founding tenet late last year.
The bipartisan measure was brought to the floor y democrats, but required four republican senators to vote against the party line. This ensured the motion passed by a higher than expected margin.
However, while campaigners for net neutrality emerged victorious in this particular battle, the war is far from won.
The resolution will now go to the US House of Representatives, where it could face greater opposition from a larger number of republicans congressmen and women seeking up uphold the FCC’s 3-2 ruling.
Should the FCC’s decision to remove the ‘Title II’ protections go into effect on June 11, as planned, it would give internet service providers and telephone companies the opportunity to create a tiered internet system.
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Those companies could throttle access to rival services, or charge more for access to access certain sites and apps. That would have gigantic ramifications for consumers and business alike.
For example — in the worst case scenario — web users may need to pay extra to access premium sites like Netflix, in the same way they pay cable providers to access premium television channels like HBO.
Despite the setback, FCC chairman Ajit Pai said the FCC remained confident the 2015 Obama-era rules would be repealed and that its decision will stand eventually.
“It’s disappointing that Senate Democrats forced this resolution through by a narrow margin. But ultimately, I’m confident that their effort to reinstate heavy-handed government regulation of the Internet will fail.”
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