The House voted Wednesday to approve the “Save the Internet Act,” a bill that would restore net neutrality, which proponents see as a way of safeguarding free and open information exchange online.
Reaction among industry factions was predictably split, with the FCC issuing a salty statement and the Writers Guild and other groups applauding the move.
Net neutrality, which became law under President Obama, was repealed by the Republican-controlled FCC of Donald Trump. The effort to repeal it stemmed from the drive to curb the ability of internet providers to erect gates around content. Proponents of net neutrality say it prevents private companies from dictating the flow of information on the internet. Companies like Netflix have advocated for net neutrality, finding themselves on the opposite side of large service providers like Comcast and AT&T.
The bill passed the Democrat-controlled House by a vote of 232-190. Only one Republican voted in favor. As the legislation now moves to the Senate for final approval, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has vowed that it is “dead on arrival in the Senate,” a stance that aligns with that of the Trump administration.
The Writers Guild of America, West issued a statement saying it “applauds the House of Representatives for passing the Save the Internet Act and putting us back on the path to restoring net neutrality. The American public overwhelmingly supports strong and enforceable rules and opposes corporate control of the Internet, and today’s actions show that the House is listening. Without the protections of the 2015 Open Internet Order, ISPs have shown that they will engage in discriminatory behaviors that benefit their bottom lines to the detriment of consumers and competition. We urge Senate Majority Leader McConnell to prioritize his constituents over corporate interests and bring this legislation up for a vote.”
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai derided the “so-called Save the Internet Act” in a statement. “This legislation is a big-government solution in search of a problem,” he said. “The internet is free and open, while faster broadband is being deployed across America. This bill should not and will not become law.”
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