Court Fight Over Net Neutrality Begins to Take Shape

  • Court Fight Over Net Neutrality Begins to Take Shape

Court Fight Over Net Neutrality Begins to Take Shape

That's significant because it's the number of senators needed to essentially force a vote on the FCC's move.

Markey would have to wait until the FCC's action is published in the Federal Register before calling for a vote, but it is unclear when that will happen.

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) was the latest senator to express support for the bill, which put the number of supporters above the procedural requirement to bypass committee approval.

Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, promoted dueling legislation - now in the form of spot bill SB 822 - stating the Legislature's intent to "effectuate net neutrality in California utilizing the state's regulatory powers". The rules would allow Internet Service Providers to block online content, or charge websites for faster delivery to consumers, by rolling back the protections against such actions that were adopted in 2015. The sponsors for the resolution include 29 Democrats and Bernie Sanders, an independent who votes with the Democrats. Bernie Sanders, an independent who caucuses with the Democratic Party.

The resolution was drafted under the Congressional Review Act, which gives Congress the authority to overturn new regulations issued by federal agencies on a simple majority vote of both houses. Previously a seldom-used, obscure law, the CRA was used multiple times a year ago to overturn regulations issued in the waning days of the Obama administration. A tie vote would likely mean the deciding vote would be cast by VP Mike Pence, dooming the resolution.

"The final version of Chairman Pai's rule, as expected, dismantles popular net neutrality protections for consumers". None of them are Republicans. The commission did adopt new rules requiring that internet providers disclose the way they handle traffic, but net neutrality advocates say that they are insufficient. And even if they could muster the votes from members of Congress, the bill would still need to be signed by President Donald Trump, which seems unlikely.

Of course, the legal might of the ISPs will fight in the FCC's corner, while the new-money internet companies will back any rules which preserve net neutrality. At a conference a year ago in California, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said while net neutrality is "incredibly important", it's no longer "narrowly important to us because we're big enough to get the deals we want".

The group, known as the Internet Association, clearly stated for the first time that these large tech companies like Microsoft, Google, and Facebook are not only against the repeal, but they will stake their well-being on overturning it.

The opposition to the FCC repeal is mobilizing in a big way.