Net neutrality vote: Senate advances bill to House

Members of the U.S. Senate voted Wednesday to advance a bill that calls for a reversal of the Federal Communications Commission’s recent decision to repeal net neutrality rules, setting up a potential vote in the House of Representatives.

The bill passed 52-47 with support from all 49 Democrats in the Senate, as well as Republicans Susan Collins of Maine, John Kennedy of Louisiana and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. The FCC-backed net neutrality repeal is set to take effect June 11.

“This is our chance – our best chance – to make sure the internet stays accessible and affordable for all Americans,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., according to USA Today.

The proposal now heads to the GOP-controlled House, where members are seen as unlikely to approve a reversal or even to put it to a vote. Championed by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, net neutrality repeal has enjoyed widespread support among Republicans, including President Donald Trump. Even if the House passed the bill, Trump would have to sign it into law.

The five-member FCC voted along party lines to end net neutrality last December, arguing that the repeal would stoke competition among internet service providers and benefit consumers. Critics, however, say the repeal could empower such companies as AT&T and Comcast to charge more for faster internet speed or create exclusive content bundles that internet users must buy.

While the telecom giants largely support the repeal, most tech and internet companies are opposed. Netflix, Microsoft and Reddit all released statements criticizing December’s decision.