Internet giants back Senate effort to reinstate net neutrality rules

Internet giants back Senate effort to reinstate net neutrality rules
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A trade group representing internet giants including Google and Facebook is throwing its support behind a bill that would reverse the repeal of the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) net neutrality rules.

The Internet Association (IA) on Thursday sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellDoug Jones to McConnell: Don't 'plow right through' with Kavanaugh Kavanaugh accuser agrees to testify next week GOP, Kavanaugh accuser struggle to reach deal MORE (R-Ky.) and Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerTrump, GOP regain edge in Kavanaugh battle READ: President Trump’s exclusive interview with Hill.TV The Hill's 12:30 Report — Trump slams Sessions in exclusive Hill.TV interview | Kavanaugh accuser wants FBI investigation MORE (D-N.Y.) arguing that the FCC rules should be reinstated.

“Strong net neutrality rules are necessitated by, among other factors, the lack of competition in the broadband service market,” Michael Beckerman, the group’s CEO, wrote. “More than half of all Americans have no choice in their provider, and 87 percent of rural Americans have no choice.”

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A Senate bill that would overturn the FCC’s December decision has nearly enough support to pass the chamber. Every Democrat and one Republican have announced their support for the bill, meaning that it needs just one more GOP senator to put it over the top. Democrats have promised to force a vote.

IA said while they support the legislation, they are also calling on lawmakers to codify the net neutrality rules into law with a bipartisan bill.

Some net neutrality supporters oppose any attempts at legislation out of fear that it would fall short of the Obama-era FCC protections, while Republicans and many in the private sector argue that it would help avoid the uncertainty brought by the back-and-forth at the FCC.

“The time has come for a bipartisan effort to establish permanent net neutrality rules for consumers, startups, established internet businesses, and internet service providers,” Beckerman wrote.