Vote 2020 graphic
Everything you need to know about and expect during
the most important election of our lifetimes

#NetNeutrality: The Fight for an Open and Free Internet Continues Across the Country

FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn addresses protesters outside the Federal Communications Commission building to rally against the end of net neutrality rules Dec. 14, 2017, in Washington, D.C. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn addresses protesters outside the Federal Communications Commission building to rally against the end of net neutrality rules Dec. 14, 2017, in Washington, D.C. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Nearly a month after the Federal Communications Commission voted to repeal the rules of net neutrality, lawmakers across the country are doing what they can to keep the internet open and free.

Advertisement

In California, this comes in the form of Senate Bill 460. NBC Bay Area reports that the California Consumer Protection and Net Neutrality Act of 2018 would ban ISPs from using bandwidth throttling or intentional slowing of service, as well as paid prioritization, which would allow ISPs to pay a fee to get ahead of their competitors.

The bill was introduced by state Senate President Pro Tem Kevin De Leon. It is backed by San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, who is also a member of the advisory board for the FCC.

Advertisement

Liccardo told NBC that he believes the FCC is a victim of “regulatory capture,” which is a term used to describe federal agencies created to serve the public interest that end up advancing business or political agendas instead.

Meanwhile, in Ohio, Republican Rep. Steve Stivers is co-sponsoring a bill similar to the one in California. WKBN-TV reports that the Stivers bill would make bandwidth throttling and content blocking illegal, but it would still allow for paid prioritization.

Stivers told WKBN: “If a company wants to pay to speed you up and make it even faster for you, they can do that. If Netflix wants to pay Comcast to run a cable between Comcast and Netflix, that’d be considered paid prioritization.”

Advertisement

Stivers believes that allowing paid prioritization will prompt companies to invest in things like broadband access while still protecting consumer interests.

Advertisement

Reuters reports that Senate Democrats on Tuesday announced that they will force a vote on the FCC’s reversal of net neutrality later this year. Their plan is to make it a key issue during the 2018 midterm elections.

Also on Tuesday, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) gave the Dems the boost they needed by saying that she would back their efforts to overturn the FCC repeal.

Advertisement

A spokeswoman for Collins said, “She believes that a careful, deliberative process involving experts and the public is warranted to ensure that consumers have strong protections that guarantee consumer choice, free markets and continued growth.”

The FCC voted on Dec. 14 to overturn the rules of net neutrality that had been put in place in 2015 by President Barack Obama’s administration. On Jan. 4 they released their official order to undo those protections.

Advertisement

Oh, and speaking of the FCC …

Some FCC officials made an appearance at CES to discuss the implications of the net neutrality repeal. Guess who was noticeably absent?

Advertisement

That’s right, Ajit Pai. Pai was supposed to speak on a panel at the event but backed out at the last minute amid reported death threats after his decision to repeal net neutrality.

I guess people are serious about their internet, and Pai is serious about throwing a rock and hiding his hand as if he didn’t do it.

Advertisement

Like I said before—keep that same energy, Ajit Pai.

Keep that same energy.

News Editor for The Root. I said what I said. Period.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter

DISCUSSION

nowdaydrinking
Not Enough Day Drinking

Stivers told WKBN, “If a company wants to pay to speed you up and make it even faster for you, they can do that. If Netflix wants to pay Comcast to run a cable between Comcast and Netflix, that’d be considered paid prioritization.”

I really hate that congresspeople make laws without having the faintest clue about the subject...or maybe he does and he’s intentionally holding Comcast’s milk.

Prioritization doesn’t mean they’re actually boosting the speed. It means cutting to the front of the line. If you have VIP tickets to Disney World you’re not just getting on rides faster with no impact...you’re making people without VIP tickets wait longer so you can get on first.

That means anyone who’s not as big as Netflix and Comcast will be stuck at the back of the bus. And if Netflix starts to get some competition? Well they just buy some extra VIP tickets and slow things down for competitors even more.