Democrats on Wednesday introduced a bill to reinstate net neutrality laws repealed by the Trump administration’s FCC.
The bill, called the Save the Internet Act of 2019, aims to restore laws preventing internet providers from blocking, speeding up, or slowing down access to specific online services.
"This legislation brings the power of the internet to every corner of this country, from rural America and to our cities," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said in an announcement Wednesday. "A free and open internet is a pillar in creating opportunities."
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called the bill a “real bipartisan effort.”
“Last spring, our colleagues in the United States Senate were given that choice to side with the average person, rather than the big special interests, to side with protecting consumers and entrepreneurs,” Schumer said.
“Unfortunately, all but three Senate Republicans voted on behalf of special interests. It passed the Senate, but unfortunately a Republican House of Representatives shelved it. Now we have a Democratic House and Republicans have a second chance to right the Trump Administration’s wrong.”
The Save the Internet Act is being introduced in both the Democrat-controlled House and the Republican-controlled Senate, with hearings on the bill set to begin next week.
Efforts to restore net neutrality
Net neutrality rules were rolled back in 2017 by a Republican-dominated FCC. The agency’s chairman, Ajit Pai, argued that the “light-touch” regulatory approach that took the place of the Obama-era regulations would give broadband providers more incentive to innovate and build networks.
"In place of that heavy-handed framework, the FCC is returning to the traditional light-touch framework that was in place until 2015," the FCC said. "Moreover, the FCC today also adopted robust transparency requirements that will empower consumers as well as facilitate effective government oversight of broadband providers’ conduct."
In the time since the rules were repealed, several states have voted to reinstate net neutrality laws and 22 state attorneys general have come together to block the FCC’s rollback of net neutrality.
The activist group Fight for the Future has garnered nearly 25,000 signatures in a petition asking legislators to defend net neutrality and "protect the free and open Internet for generations to come."
“With the Save the Internet Act, Democrats are honoring the will of the people,” Pelosi said.