US Democrats push to reinstate 'net neutrality' rules

March 05, 2019 08:50
Democrat lawmakers will work with their colleagues in the Senate to pass the “Save the Internet Act”, says House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Reuters

Democrats in the US Congress plan to unveil legislation on Wednesday to reinstate “net neutrality” rules that were repealed by the Trump administration in December 2017, Reuters reports, citing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Pelosi told lawmakers in a letter that Democrats, who won control of the House of Representatives in the November 2018 elections, will work with their colleagues in the Senate to pass the “Save the Internet Act”, according to the report.

The text of the proposed legislation has not been released.

The Federal Communications Commission repealed the rules that bar providers from blocking or slowing internet content or offering paid “fast lanes.” The repeal was a win for providers like Comcast, AT&T and Verizon Communications, but was opposed by internet companies like Facebook, Amazon and Google.

The Senate, which is controlled by Republicans, voted in May 2018 to reinstate the net neutrality rules, but the House did not take up the issue before Congress adjourned last year.

A US federal appeals court last month held lengthy oral arguments in a legal challenge to the FCC’s decision to repeal the net neutrality rules.

In its 2017 decision, the Republican-led FCC voted 3-2 along party lines to reverse the net neutrality rules. The agency gave providers sweeping power to recast how users access the internet but said they must disclose changes in users’ internet access.

A group of 22 state attorneys general and the District of Columbia asked the appeals court to reinstate the Obama-era internet rules and to block the FCC’s effort to pre-empt states from imposing their own rules guaranteeing an open internet.

Major providers say they have not made any changes in how Americans access the internet since the repeal.

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