Senate passes bill to revoke FCC "net neutrality" rules


On Wednesday (5/16), the US Senate passed legislation which would revoke recent FCC rules changing net neutrality policies.  The vote, however, is unlikely to have anything more than symbolic value.

The recent FCC rules changed regulatory policy which required Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to treat all network traffic across their networks equally.  Under the new FCC rules, ISPs are allowed to charge customers for different levels of network service, prioritize network traffic to some sites while slowing or blocking traffic to others.  Under the FCC rules, ISPs can enter into agreements with network content providers (e.g. Netflix or Amazon) to provide faster service or favor content provided by their own business partners.  Smaller network service and content providers, particularly startups, argue that the policy puts them at a significant disadvantage as they are less able to pay ISPs for prioritized service.

The legislation passed in the Senate would revoke the recent FCC changes, returning policy to one mandating net neutrality.  All 49 Democratic Senators voted in favor of the legislation, joined by Republican Senators Susan Collins (Maine), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and John Kennedy (Louisiana).  The legislation has been sent to the House of Representatives where it is not expected to pass, if it even gets to the floor for a vote.