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US Democrats To Unveil Legislation To Reinstate Net Neutrality Rules

DemocratsOpens a New Window. in CongressOpens a New Window. are unveiling a bill to reinstate the landmark net neutrality rules opens a New Window. repealed by the Federal Communications Commission opens a New Window. under U.S. President Donald Trump, congressional aides said on Wednesday.

The bill will mirror an effort last year to reverse the FCC’s December 2017 order that repealed the rules approved in 2015 that barred providers from blocking or slowing internet content or offering paid “fast lanes.”

The reversal was a win for internet providers like Comcast Corp, AT&T Inc and Verizon Communications Inc , but was opposed by content and social media companies like Facebook Inc, Amazon.com Inc and Alphabet Inc.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Monday that Democrats would push to reinstate the net neutrality rules, but did not disclose the legislative proposal. A press conference is set for later on Wednesday morning on Capitol Hill.

According to congressional aides, the bill would repeal the order introduced by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, bar the FCC from reinstating it or substantially similar order and reinstate the 2015 net neutrality order.

Aides say the bill will be introduced in the U.S. Senate on Wednesday and has the support of nearly all Democrats, while a companion bill will be introduced in the House on Friday.

House Republicans Greg Walden, Bob Latta and Cathy McMorris Rodgers said in a statement that both parties believe “a free and open internet is fundamental to our society.”

“Let’s come together to ensure that continues because all sides want a permanent solution,” they said.

Republicans oppose reinstating the 2015 rules that grant the FCC sweeping authority to oversee the conduct of internet providers.

The Senate, which is controlled by Republicans, voted in May 2018 to reinstate the net neutrality rules, but the House did not take up the issue before Congress adjourned last year.

A U.S. federal appeals court last month held lengthy oral arguments in a legal challenge to the FCC’s decision to repeal the rules.

In its 2017 decision, the Republican-led FCC voted 3-2 along party lines to reverse the rules. The agency gave providers sweeping power to recast how users access the internet but said they must disclose changes in users’ internet access. ―Fox Business

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