Senate votes to protect net neutrality rules

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She said she's heard from small business owners across the state who've told her that the FCC's decision to repeal net neutrality threatens the level playing field that allows them to compete online.

Supporters of net neutrality have pointed out, however, that without the Obama administration rules, internet providers could easily create online "fast lanes" that privileged whatever content the company prefers and "slow lanes" for everything else. However, they are not prevented from doing so.

In a recorded statement, Murkowski said internet regulations should not shift depending on who runs the FCC.

"There is no constituency on the other side of this other than the telecommunications companies", Schatz said.

Democrats used the Congressional Review Act to force a vote - a law that allows Congress to repeal agency rules and regulations on a simple majority vote, instead of a 60-vote threshold needed to break procedural hurdles on most legislation, the kinds of traditional roadblocks where Senate leadership could typically hold up such a proposal.

Senator Brian Schatz speaks at the Democratic of Hawaii's unity breakfast held at the Dole Cannery Ballroom. 14 aug 2016
U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz has been a vocal advocate within his party for net

Joining all Democratic senators in voting to reverse the FCC's action were GOP Sens. It's unlikely to get support in the Republican-controlled U.S. House, or to survive the veto pen of President Donald Trump.

"We salute them for their courage", said Senate minority leader Nancy Pelosi at the press conference. The FCC said in repealing it last December that it was simply restoring the "light-touch framework" that has governed the internet for most of its existence.

Among the groups supporting the CRA vote were several educational and research organizations. She called the vote a "critical and important step" and a "victory for consumers". "The American people have spoken and the American people should listen". But a number of states are already working on laws to restore protections. But the new rules are opposed by internet firms like Facebook and Alphabet.

Should the CRA actually pass, it could diminish privacy protections granted to the Federal Trade Commission in the 2017 order, May says.

Tech companies have been signaling that the repeal of net neutrality could lead to significant financial consequences. He also notes net neutrality remains extremely popular - a University of Maryland poll puts public support at 83 percent - and that Republicans in Congress may need to start paying attention, particularly with midterm elections looming overhead. The current FCC moved to repeal them in a 3-2 vote a year ago, a move that sparked outrage and protests among many net neutrality supporters.

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