On Wednesday, the Senate approved to overturn an attempt by the FCC to roll back the net neutrality rules created under the Obama administration.
The net neutrality bill prevents Internet service providers from slowing down or speeding up certain websites, depending on traffic and popularity. Republican representatives, who are the ones most in favor of the repeal, argue that it is important to shift the regulation of the Internet from the public to private sector. Further, they argue that the repeal will give consumers more choice and expand competition, thus creating a gain for both producer and consumer surplus.
On the other hand, Democrats worry that consumers will have no choice in prices and that Internet providers will be able to increase prices for the most popular websites like Facebook, Google, Youtube, and more. And the Democrats aren’t the only ones – a study by the Program for Public Consultation at the University of Maryland found that the majority of Americans support the current net neutrality regulations.
The final vote on overturning the repeal was 52-47, with three Republicans – Senators Susan Collins (Maine), John Kennedy (Louisiana), and Lisa Murkowski (Atlanta) – stepping across the aisle and siding with the Democrats’ decision.
The repeal did not receive much media attention, likely because many media platforms are owned by cable providers who favor the repeal of net neutrality. However, it is gradually gaining grounds due to user-run websites like Reddit and Twitter, whose users regularly post updates about the status of net neutrality.
For now, net neutrality will be government run. The FCC will most likely bring the issue to the floor again to try to increase the profitability of the Internet, and the many users of the Internet will be there to oppose the proposition and do what they can to keep their Internet surfing freedom.
Featured image via Wikimedia Commons