Democrats picked up three Republican votes for their resolution reinstating Net Neutrality yesterday on the floor of the Senate, as the measure passed 52-47.
One of those republicans, U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) made it clear that her vote for joint resolution, S J Res 52, was not so much a vote in favor of Net Neutrality but against the FCC’s Restoring Internet Freedom Order, which handed the regulation of the internet over to the Federal Trade Commission.
“Regulating the internet like a utility under a 1934 law is not the way to an open internet. I have never supported Title II regulation and do not support it today,” Murkowski said. “I have voted to pass this resolution today so that we can reset the discussion and move beyond the politics at play here to what is really needed—lasting legislation that will provide certainty and move us beyond shifting regulatory standards that depend on who is running the FCC.”
Sen. John Thune, (R-S.D.), who voted against S J Res 52, repeated his call for legislation to keep the internet open through new legislation, not a return to Title 2 regulation.
“People are concerned about the blocking of unlawful internet content, the throttling of internet speeds. Let’s lock it into law. Let’s put rules for the open internet into law, so we fully understand and can move forward in a way that doesn’t have constant ambiguity and back and forth from one FCC to the next,” he said on the floor of the Senate.
The House of Representatives is not expected to pass its version of the net neutrality resolution, so the conversation over internet regulation will spill over into talking points during the mid-term elections in November.
Gil Regev, chief communications Officer at RGK Mobile, said, “While yesterday’s Senate vote has won a majority to reinstate Net Neutrality laws it’s unlikely that the these will actually take effect. That being said, it shows the ever-growing concern over the FCC’s recent decision. The biggest concern here is the power it grants mobile operators and internet providers, both are already competing in an ever-diminishing competitive landscape, with recent mergers and acquisitions. The very essence of the Internet is that it’s open, accessible and free. Net Neutrality came to ensure just that- the freedom to create content, distribute it and develop in an equal playing field. We are running at a very high risk here that the US, for the first time in 30-40 years, will grant clear priority to those managing the infrastructure, which could lead to limited accessibility of users to information sources and a significant slow down in digital development.”