Bill That Would Restore Net Neutrality Moves Forward Despite Telecom’s Best Efforts to Kill it - Motherboard
Last month, Democrats introduced a simple three page bill that would do one thing: restore FCC net neutrality rules and the agency’s authority over ISPs, both stripped away by a hugely-controversial decision by the agency in late 2017. Tuesday morning, the Save the Internet Act passed through a key House committee vote and markup session—despite some last-minute efforts by big telecom to weaken the bill.
“Inside the beltway, this is really about maybe five companies,” Representative Anna Eshoo said during the hearing. “Across the country, the American people really get this. National polling shows that Republicans, Democrats, Independents support net neutrality. We’re still in the same old soup pot here. We need to take our lenses off and look across the country.”
Survey after survey have shown that the vast bipartisan majority of Americans supported the FCC’s 2015 rules and opposed the repeal. But the Trump FCC was quick to bow to pressure to telecom giants like AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast—despite their long history of using their role as natural monopolies to hamstring competitors and nickel and dime subscribers. The Pai repeal not only ended net neutrality, it dramatically cut back the FCC’s authority over major broadband providers, shoveling any remaining authority to an FTC critics (like former FCC boss Tom Wheeler) say lacks the authority or resources to actually police telecom giants. With neither competition nor meaningful regulatory oversight to keep them in check, these telecom giants will have carte blanche to abuse their roles as internet gatekeepers online, net neutrality activists have repeatedly warned.