Jamilah King of Colorlines is reporting that a Republican-backed net neutrality resolution failed in the Democratic-controlled Senate on Friday by a vote of 52-46. The new rules are currently set to take effect on November 20. She writes, "The vote was just the latest episode in a long saga in which lawmakers, consumer advocates, and telecommunications companies position themselves to influence how communication will happen in the 21st century. And it’s a battle with particular relevance to communities of color, many of which are simultaneously helping to drive broadband use despite often being among those most effected by its slow expansion."
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) passed a set of rules that made it illegal for companies to slow or block Internet traffic for their users on home broadband connections. However, they failed to address mobile broadband in the rules. Despite the FCC's rules, which are thought to be light on regulation, Republicans have fought hard against them, voting to strip the FCC of its rule-making authority and voting against the measure in the House of Representatives.
Why all the fuss over net neutrality? If access is regulated, then it will impact the revenue stream of companies because they cannot develop a tier system of access, which will determine access based on price. Who will get left out or have less access? Poor people and communities of color, many of whom access the web through mobile phones. Notice that the FCC has not even addressed net access on mobile phones in their "rules." Communities of color need to be paying attention to this issue, which will have long lasting effects if net neutrality is overruled by Congress.
Read more at Colorlines.
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