They will sow confusion and slow the progress being made to connect all Americans to high-speed internet and the services those networks make possible. Essentially, the Internet would become a tiered "Internet of things".
Even if the Senate vote doesn't happen, or the resolution doesn't pass, net neutrality is still showing signs of life at the state level, with a number of states passing net neutrality protections.
Net neutrality is premised on the idea that the Internet should be treated as if it were a public utility.
The FCC's action late a year ago reclassified Internet service as an information service for regulatory purposes; it had been classified as a common carrier telecommunications service under the FCC's previous order on the issue in 2015.
We can't allow internet service providers, instead of consumers, to be in charge of determining the future of the internet. In fact, both bills are virtually mirrors of one another, and incredibly stringent in how they restrict ISPs. This is simply not the case. In this case, it would bring back net neutrality protections.
In fact, however, the FCC has attempted to impose net neutrality obligations on providers since at least 2005, via a combination of policy statements, fines and regulations.
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Following the December rollback vote, former New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman pledged to lead a multi-state challenge of the repeal, alleging that he was denied FCC assistance in his office's investigation of fake comments submitted during the process. Attempting to seize a political opportunity, some lawmakers on Capitol Hill are taking a similarly misguided approach. Many polls have shown that USA citizens are mostly in favor of keeping net neutrality, with an April 2018 poll from the University of Maryland finding that 86% of respondents oppose repealing these protections.
"We're just going to restore what was in place until December of 2017 and then no further legislation will be needed", Markey said.
Once the latest showdown is over, we should set aside the fear mongering and manufactured hand-wringing and get to work on a solution that ends this debate and protects the economic engine of the internet for generations of Americans to come. Big online players, including Google, Facebook, Amazon and Netflix, want to restore neutrality. Thankfully, at the moment that same sentiment doesn't seem to have spread elsewhere, with Europe for example still in favor of a free and open Internet.
Anthony T. Clark is a Senior Advisor at Wilkinson Barker Knauer in Washington, D.C. The firm serves as regulatory counsel to broadband service providers.