The senate voted 52-47 to overturn FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s decision to overturn Obma-era net neutrality rules. Despite overwhelming public opposition to the repeal, the decision of the FCC board was unanimous, and President Trump expressed his support of the repeal.
Tech sites, unless they are owned by telecommunications company overwhelmingly support keeping net neutrality rules in place. Verizon, Sprint, Comcast and other telecom providers routinely oppose it and misrepresent the definition of the concept.
Net neutrality means that ISPs must treat all traffic the same regardless of source. An ISP cannot block or throttle traffic as long as the content is legal. Representatives of the telecom industry support repealing the rules because it means they can charge higher prices.
Ajit Pai’s decision has also been scrutinized. Pai served as a Verizon lawyer before being appointed to his current position by then President Obama. When the decision to repeal net neutrality rules were made, he said the Internet now belonged to the software and hardware engineers. He added comments that it would promote development. Steven Wozniak, formerly of Facebook, has spent a good deal of time trolling Ajit Pai on Facebook for what Wozniak considers to be a bad decision.
The passage of the senate bill does not mean Pai’s decision will not stand. The bill merely goes to the house, where the votes of at least twenty republicans are needed to overturn the bill. Because Republicans seem to oppose the bill and are more likely to be lobbied by telecom providers, it is uncertain the house version of the bill would gain enough votes to pass.
Esquire Magazine hailed the vote as a victory for common sense. The Wired and the PC Mag websites were more restrained in their coverage, but they praised the three Republican senators who voted across party lines for making the right decision. Even if the House passes reviewing the rules under the Congressional Review act, the bill faces a final hurdle. President Trump needs to sign it for it to become law.