Net Neutrality Ends in April, Unless Congress Acts
The FCC has set a date for when its net neutrality repeal goes into effect: April 23.
While the agency voted 3-2 to end the Obama-era protections on net neutrality in December, these things don't actually become official until they are published in the Federal Register. That happened today, and barring any intervention from Congress, net neutrality rules are kaput in two months.
Opponents of the FCC's vote have vowed to fight back -- and now they can. Publication in the Federal Register also opens the door for the public to sue. And Mozilla, video-sharing site Vimeo and a coalition of 23 attorney generals led by New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman did just that on Thursday.
"The FCC may have made its illegal rollback of #netneutrality official but this fight is just getting started," Schneiderman tweeted.
Federal rules give Congress a 60-day window to pass a resolution reversing the FCC's vote. Democratic senators, including Chuck Schumer and Ed Markey, are trying to drum up support for a bill that would do just that.
60 legislative days from now, the free and open Internet will be on life support UNLESS we find one more Republican Senator to support my CRA to save #NetNeutrality. We have a real shot at victory in the Senate, but we have to keep the pressure on the @SenateGOP.-- Ed Markey (@SenMarkey) February 22, 2018
The Democrats have so far secured 50 votes in the Senate, and need one more. However, passing the bill won't be easy in the House, where Republicans control a larger majority. It would also need to pass muster from President Donald Trump, who is not a fan of the original FCC rules.
Time will tell if any of these efforts pay off. Republicans have argued that the net neutrality rules stifle innovation. Supporters say they're necessary to keep ISPs in check.
"This misguided decision awoke a sleeping giant -- the American public -- and we won't stop making a ruckus until internet openness is the law of the land," tweeted Democratic FCC commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, who dissented in December's vote.