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May 16, 2018

Senate narrowly passes measure to restore net neutrality

Housingwire--Kelsey Ramirez

The Senate voted Wednesday to restore net neutrality ahead of its scheduled rollback.

Back in December, the Federal Communications Commission repealed net neutrality regulations, which prevent internet service companies from charging users more to see certain content.

Real estate experts such as Zillow and the National Association of Realtors instantly stood against the rollback, saying the changes to net neutrality could create an unlevel playing field for small business owners.

But now, Congress is fighting to block the rollback, which is set to take effect on June 11, 2018.

The vote to reverse the FCC action and maintain current rules passed the Senate in a vote 52 to 47. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., did not vote since he was out due to his health complications. All Democrats and Independents voted in favor of the measure, while three Republicans, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, Sen. John Neely Kennedy, R-La., and Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, voted opposite of their party and in favor of the resolution.

Redfin, a real estate website, also joined in support of net neutrality, saying, “We remain committed to keeping the internet open and free for all.”

However, even as the Senate votes to block the rollback of net neutrality, the measure still needs to be voted on by the House of Representatives and be signed off on by President Donald Trump. In short, there may not be much Congress can do to block the new rule.

But the legislative branch isn’t the only one fighting the rollback. Several court cases have also arisen, challenging the FCC’s rollback, according to an article by NPR.

From the article:

Earlier this year, a coalition of 23 attorneys general sued to block the rollback of net neutrality. Others have also filed suit, from the nonprofit Mozilla to the Free Press advocacy group. And in March, Washington state enacted its own net neutrality protections, in anticipation of the federal rule being revoked.

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