The fight for net neutrality is still living on. Democratic party lawmakers in the United States Congress on March 6 introduced a piece of legislation known as the “Save the Internet Act,” which sets out to restore the regulations that the bill’s proponents say will protect an open internet.
The full draft legislation is available online and is less than three pages in length. It primarily aims to put back in place the net neutrality rules which were originally repealed by the FCC in 2017. In part, the legislation also protects the internet by classifying it as a utility, preventing companies from charging fees for faster access to services and websites. Several key politicians have come out to support it, including Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.
“This legislation brings the power of the internet to every corner of this country, from rural America and to our cities.” “A free and open internet is a pillar in creating opportunities,” said Pelosi during a press conference.
In the moments after the legislation had been announced, the Federal Communications Commission issued a response, mentioning the success of the current system of regulating the internet. “The FCC’s return in 2017 to the bipartisan, light-touch approach to internet regulation has been a success. The internet in America today is free and vibrant, and the main thing it needs to be saved from is heavy-handed regulation from the 1930s,” said a spokeswoman for FCC chairman Ajit Pai.
It remains uncertain if this legislation will actually pass and make its way to President Trump, as the Senate is currently controlled by Republicans. The new legislation is also similar to a previous bill passed by the U.S. Senate in 2018 that never made it to the Republican-controlled House. Several states, including California, have since looked to establish their own legislation to help preserve net neutrality, but legal challenges have caused the U.S. Department of Justice to block the laws.
Technology companies such as Mozilla, Facebook, Google, and Amazon had expressed criticism of the 2017 decision that originally repealed net neutrality. A hearing will be held by the House Energy and Commerce Committee next week to discuss this new legislation.