Democratic House Votes to Restore Net Neutrality - But There’s a Long Road Ahead
Thursday, 11 April 2019
by 👨💻 Adam Yardley
The US House of Representatives has voted to bring the Obama-era Net Neutrality rules back into law following months of speculation. However, with the bill set to undergo further dissection via the Senate and White House, where Republican interests largely outweigh Democrat ones, it will remain to be seen whether or not the standards actively travel back into law any time soon.
Net Neutrality laws were ushered in during Barack Obama’s Presidency in an effort to make internet access fairer for all. Such rules advised that internet service providers such as Verizon, AT&T and others would not be permitted to slow down or block US internet users’ access to certain websites. The rules were widely accepted by many in the technology industry – however, following Donald Trump’s ascension to US President in 2016, Federal Communications Commission head Ajit Pai and others worked to repeal the laws as a result of concerns over the effect it may have had on investment.
According to the Washington Post, the House’s move to usher Net neutrality back into US law is just the first early step it could take to protect internet access for millions of US citizens. It’s been noted that President Trump’s advisors have encouraged the Commander-in-Chief to veto the law should it reach his level. There is also strong opposition to the bill from Republicans, who make up the majority of the Senate.
The proposal by the House passed by a majority of 232 to 190, and it would aim to reinstate blocks on leading ISPs in the US as soon as possible. However, with both the Senate and the White House potentially standing in the way of such a bill, it seems that any chance of getting Net Neutrality back into US law may depend on getting Democrat majorities in both Houses, as well as a President into the White House.
It will therefore remain to be seen whether or not those currently looking to run for the Democratic Presidential nomination will make Net Neutrality a key focus of their potential campaigns in 2020. It will likely be a big draw for those who are invested in keeping US internet access fair and level, though those invested – quite literally – in private sector investment may see things a little differently. Therefore, it may be some time until we see Net Neutrality make a strong comeback, if at all.
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