Senate bill aims to restore net neutrality, including throttling safeguards

Politicians are making another attempt to restore net neutrality rules. Democratic Senators Ed Markey and Ron Wyden introduced a Net Neutrality and Broadband Justice Act that would classify broadband internet as a telecommunications service under Title II of the Communications Act. The move would allow the FCC to restore net neutrality protections removed by the Ajit Pai Era Commission in December 2017, including protections against blocking, throttling, and paid traffic prioritization.

The bill would also help the FCC introduce policies that improve accessibility and safety and “close the digital divide,” Markey said. Another 28 senators, including independent Bernie Sanders and prominent Democrats such as Cory Booker and Elizabeth Warren, are co-sponsors. California representative Doris Matsui is sponsoring a corresponding bill in-house. The measure is supported by civil rights and activist groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Democrats have tried to revive net neutrality before with efforts like the Save the Internet Act of 2019. As Markey explained The registry, but they are trying a different strategy. The new bill is intentionally short at just two pages — that brevity gives the FCC the regulatory power to adapt to the “changing nature of the internet,” the senator said. Previous attempts have attempted to enshrine certain rules in law.

However, the law’s survival is far from certain. It has to go beyond a Senate committee, and Congress will go on recess in August. A Senate vote might not succeed unless Democrats can break the 60-vote threshold needed to avoid a filibuster, and the House bill isn’t guaranteed to pass if it’s passed after November’s midterm elections voting is coming.

The FCC does not guarantee that it will revive net neutrality even if the bill goes into effect. The commission is currently deadlocked with two Democrats and two Republicans. The candidate Gigi Sohn has not yet been confirmed. An FCC vote on neutrality-related policy changes could easily fail, even though the agency would have the power (and effectively an obligation) to reinstate consumer protections.

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