The United States Senate has just voted to restore net neutrality regulations, which the FCC voted in December to eliminate. The vote was the result of a last-ditch effort by numerous websites and Senate Democrats, and thanks to the magic of C-SPAN, you can watch the process unfold.
BREAKING: We just won the vote in the Senate on #NetNeutrality. Thanks to everyone for pushing so hard. We have more work to do but this is an excellent beginning.May 16, 2018
There was some doubt that the vote would pass, as the widespread popular support for net neutrality is not reflected in the US government. But as Business Insider noted, three Republican Senators joined the Democrats, and it was ultimately enough to get the vote across the line by a count of 52-47. Most Republicans, including FCC chairman Ajit Pai, say that net neutrality regulations actually place an unfair burden on ISPs that stifles innovation; supporters argue that eliminating regulations opens the door to allowing them to prioritize traffic and charge more for certain services.
The vote is obviously good news for net neutrality proponents, but it's also just the first step, and the next will be much more difficult. The bill will now move to the House, where another majority vote is required, but Republicans have stronger control, with 235 members versus the Democrats' 193. If the measure passes the House, it will go to the President, who can veto it if he so chooses. Given his disdain for government regulations, and the fact that Ajit Pai, the driving force behind the repeal, was appointed as FCC chairman by the current President, it seems like a long shot.
The Senate session voting to restore net neutrality regulations can be seen on C-SPAN. It may not be the most electrifying entertainment you'll ever enjoy, but the potential consequences of the loss of net neutrality, as we've discussed previously, are profound. The FCC's ruling is meant to go into effect on June 11.