In December, the FCC voted to repeal net neutrality regulations. But thankfully, the fight for the free and open internet is not over just yet. As of today, January 9th, a Senate bill to reverse the net neutrality repeal has 40 co-sponsors, meaning that the Senate can now force a vote on this decision.
Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey announced his intention to draft the bill on December 14th. The bill was filed under the Congressional Review Act, which enables Congress to vote on whether or not to reverse the FCC’s decision and prevent the commission from attempting another net neutrality repeal in the future. Yesterday, January 8th, Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill was the 30th legislator to sign the bill, giving it the number of signatures needed to force a vote.
The bill needs a simple majority to be approved, meaning that at least two Republican senators have to vote in favor of undoing the FCC’s ruling. So far, all the Senators who have signed Markey’s bill are Democrats. If the bill passes in the Senate, it would move to the House of Representatives for another vote. According to Ars Technica, it will be more difficult for the bill to pass in the House due to the larger Republican majority there.
Democrats have not announced when the vote will be held.
In case you need a refresher, net neutrality refers to a series of regulations imposed in 2015 that prevented cable companies from prioritizing any content or websites. Supporters of the FCC repeal said that eliminating net neutrality would enable greater competition among internet service providers and lower costs for consumers.
But on the other hand, opponents maintained that the loss of net neutrality would result in “fast and slow lanes” for the internet, forcing companies and customers to pay more for better service. Critics of the FCC’s decision say that net neutrality repeal could also hurt services like public libraries.
If you want to help restore net neutrality, you can call or text your elected officials and let them know that you support undoing the FCC’s decision. We’ll be keeping our fingers crossed that the Senate votes to bring back net neutrality.