House Passes Net Neutrality Bill, McConnell Promises It Won't Survive Senate

from the ill-communication dept

Yesterday the House voted 232-190 to approve the Save The Internet Act, three-page legislation that would fully restore not just the FCC’s 2015 net neutrality rules, but its authority to police the telecom sector. As we’ve long noted, the Ajit Pai FCC’s repeal involved effectively neutering the FCC at the telecom sector’s behest, then shoveling any remaining oversight authority to the FTC, which lacks both the authority and attention span to effectively police telecom giants. The idea that telecom oversight would be lost in the cracks was, of course, the entire point of the telecom lobbying gambit.

The bill now heads to the Senate, where Mitch McConnell has already stated it will be “dead on arrival.” The bill also needs to somehow avoid a Trump veto, which the White House all but guaranteed with a statement this week saying Trump would be advised to veto the measure. Why? The administration proclaimed it was because killing net neutrality had resulted in incredible benefits to American consumers:

“Since the new rule was adopted in 2018, consumers have benefited from a greater than 35 percent increase in average, fixed broadband download speeds, and the United States rose to sixth, from thirteenth, in the world for those speeds. In 2018, fiber was also made available to more new homes than in any previous year, and capital investment by the Nation?s top six Internet service providers increased by $2.3 billion.”

As I noted over at The Verge some of those statistics are a bit shaky, and there’s zero evidence any of them had anything to do with killing net neutrality. The 35% bump in broadband speeds, for example, is pretty well in line with past growth, and is courtesy of a lot of things, ranging from relatively inexpensive Cable DOCSIS 3.1 upgrades, to the rise of community broadband efforts (which the Trump FCC opposes). And the “record fiber” growth that the White House credits to “light touch regulatory” policies was courtesy of fiber build out merger conditions affixed on the AT&T DirecTV merger by the previous FCC.

There’s some hope among activists that the bill passes the Senate, then avoids a Trump veto by appealing to his “populist” streak (whatever that means any more), given that the rules have overwhelming, bipartisan support. That’s always seemed like a long shot given Trump’s blind fealty to these companies so far. Still, even if the vote fails, the loss will provide a voter scorecard ahead of the 2020 elections, making it abundantly clear which politicians actively respect the will of the public and the need for level internet playing fields, and which prioritize the revenues of giant natural telecom monopolies.

The best chance to reverse the repeal has always been with the courts. Especially given the numerous, often utterly bizarre procedural missteps the FCC made during the repeal. If the lawsuit filed against the FCC by 23 state AGs, consumer groups, and a handful of smaller companies like Mozilla is victorious (a ruling could pop up within months), it could immediately restore the 2015 rules and the FCC’s full authority over ISPs.

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Comments on “House Passes Net Neutrality Bill, McConnell Promises It Won't Survive Senate”

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37 Comments
Bamboo Harvester (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Voter Memory was calculated at two weeks decades ago.

Which basically means that if you can keep away from negative headlines for the two weeks before Election Day, whatever you’ve been up to before then won’t be at the top of voter’s minds when they hit the polls.

I’d shorten it from two weeks to a single week now. The internet speed of dissemination means Joe Voter is getting hit with a thousand more "news articles" than they were getting from print and TV.

When trump was still kicking the crap out of all the "official" republican candidates, there were more stories about him than could be kept up with – many on the order of space alien conspiracy. None of them with any standing, just throwing out every ludicrous statement anyone against him getting the nomination could think up in the hopes some idiot would believe them.

That went super-viral just before Election Day. And it drove any actual negatives about him from the minds of the voters.

Nathan F (profile) says:

It really bothers me when a politician won’t even CONSIDER a bill simply because it doesn’t follow the party line or someone from another party put it forward. Even more so when there is evidence that many citizens are in favor of what the bill is seeking to correct, or even worse, when there are close to two dozen States who are writing and passing their own laws regarding the matter.

Once enough states get their own law passed the telecoms are going to start screaming that ‘every state has different laws, it is impossible for us to comply with each state individually! (so we just wont comply with any of them!)’

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Uhhh...

Once enough states get their own law passed the telecoms are going to start screaming that ‘every state has different laws, it is impossible for us to comply with each state individually! (so we just wont comply with any of them!)’

Wrong tense, they’ve already been doing that, throwing epic tantrums that the gutting of federal rules at their behest has led to various states taking up the slack.

Anonymous Coward says:

the House voted 232-190 to approve the Save The Internet Act

the rules have overwhelming, bipartisan support

That isn’t what I’d call "overwhelming".

And McConnell needs to retire. This idiot is so anti-public it’s amazing he’s survived this long in the Senate and even risen to his current position.

Bamboo Harvester (profile) says:

Re: Re:

McConnell, Pelosi, Boxer, Schumer, the list goes on.

They’ve been in power long enough to know where damned near ALL the bodies are buried.

Makes it next to impossible to get rid of them. Term limits of say… dunno, three, maybe four terms would fix that problem. Of course, the dinosaurs are the ones who would have to vote it into law, so….

Jeffrey Nonken (profile) says:

"The 35% bump in broadband speeds, for example, is pretty well in line with past growth, and is courtesy of a lot of things, ranging from relatively inexpensive Cable DOCSIS 3.1 upgrades…"

I just moved, and when I did I upgraded from a pair of 12/1 Mbps lines (through a local company with awesome customer service, who resells Sonic) to Comcast gigabit service (nominally 1000/35, measured 973/42). So, yeah, I’ve done my part to boost that statistic.

(Yes, I sold my soul. I’ve gotten really tired of trying to stream and upload through a straw.

(Yes, I bought my own DOCSIS 3.1 modem and provided my own router… I may owe my soul to Satan, but I’m not stupid, and I could afford it up front.

(For the record, I can now stream Twitch at full resolution and highest quality while logged into a server-based multiplayer game or hosting my own games (depending on the game) while doing whatever on my laptop and while my daughter is doing her own thing and I have yet to drop One. Single. Packet. It is GLORIOUS.)

David says:

"Dead in the water"

You probably don’t get what Mitch O’Connell is saying here. He does not say that the bill won’t survive Senate. What he says is that Senate will not get to vote in it in the first place since it is his decision what bills are voted on.

This guy is the horse apple on top of a broken political system, and that is giving horses a bad name.

dickeyrat says:

It takes two parties to form a scam: the scammer, and the scammee. What amazes here, is that there are millions of idiots who have sniffed enough Elmer’s, or bonged an adequate number of paint chips, to actually believe Blump and his henchman Bitch McYertle are anything but out-and-out prostitutes–albeit not respectable enough to be honest about their own occupations. Anyone vaguely conscious should have known for the past thirty-five or so years, that Blump is somewhere between a failed used car salesman, and a circus clown. And then there’s the inbred McYertle, who is on a one-man quest to scream, "Fuck Off!!" to the entire American public, concept and state of being. Just where did this chrome-plated asshole come from? Oh yeah, Kentucky. The one state that was wanted by neither side in the Civil War. Personally I would give the Medal of Freedom to the patriot who threw Bitch’s to-go-dinner into the street a few months back. If only he could have also pushed Bitch in front of a moving train. I guess I can dream …

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