US Senate Votes Just Slightly in Favor of Net Neutrality

Posted by at 3:58 pm on November 10, 2011

The US Senate on Thursday rejected a Congress-backed bill to overturn net neutrality rules. Politicians voted 52 against, 46 for SJ Resolution 6, which would have rejected the order taking effect on November 20. The measure had been promoted mostly by Texas Republican Kay Bailey Hutchison and by fellow party members.

A successful vote was unlikely to have gone forward. The White House had issued a statement saying it would veto any bill, saying that a rejection of any net neutrality laws would undermine the open Internet.

Republicans have objected to any regulation of the Internet and have largely sided with carriers, which want the freedom to block and slow down competing services on their networks. They have also insisted that the FCC needed Congressional approval to implement any of the changes.

In putting forward net neutrality rules, the FCC argued that new Internet services needed protection to make sure they could compete fairly in the market. It has also pointed to existing clauses that it says grant the authority to make changes without overstepping its bounds.

Some advocates believe the regulations don’t go far enough, as the FCC deliberately left out in wireless terms from wired service that would prevent carriers from slowing access down. Agency officials have claimed that the newness of 3G and 4G networks, along with the reduced bandwidth on wireless, means carriers might need or want to slow down certain kinds of apps.

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