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Senate to Vote on Net Neutrality's Fate Today

By Chris Morris May 16, 2018

The battle over net neutrality is expected to come to a head today, as Senate Democrats force a vote on a proposal to restore the FCC’s open Internet rules.

It’s far from a sure thing that net neutrality proponents will get what they want from the vote, but even if they do, the road ahead is likely to be a rocky one. Lawmakers seem unlikely to reverse the Federal Communication Commission’s decision to end Obama-era policy, even as major Websites and major companies, including Google and Facebook, go on “red alert” to spur users to voice their support for an open internet.

All 49 Senate Democrats appear set to vote for the resolution, as does Republican Susan Collins of Maine. Should it pass the Senate, the resolution would move to the House. Should it somehow clear that hurdle, it will require the signature of President Trump, who has previously shown an inclination to toss the rules out.

Social media was full of supporters (some high profile, some less so, but no less passionate) for the Senate bill to pass.

Looking forward to seeing the list of who voted how on #NetNeutrality mañana. Good to know who is for sale at the expense of American citizens. Glad the vote is before midterm elections!

— Sarah Silverman (@SarahKSilverman) May 15, 2018

I invented the web to create opportunities #ForEveryone, but dismantling #NetNeutrality will create advantages for the few who can pay for priority access. #RedAlert Join the fight to protect the web: https://t.co/eeajF4UwuL + https://t.co/RFPLhMZpLl

— Tim Berners-Lee (@timberners_lee) May 16, 2018

Ending #NetNeutrality would hurt the most vulnerable among us and imperil innovation, entrepreneurship, and creativity in our economy. Tomorrow, the Senate will vote on stopping this terrible mistake from becoming reality. Tell them to do the right thing: https://t.co/Wt5aivOai6

— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) May 15, 2018

Doing away with Net Neutrality would be the modern day equivalent of charging people at the door to get into a public library. #NetNeutrality

— Stripe (@Justme10000000) May 15, 2018

Today is the day. The vote to save #NetNeutrality is finally happening in the Senate – and it's a close one. Call your Senator and make sure they're voting to #SaveTheInternet pic.twitter.com/MBWCt6SRrL

— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) May 16, 2018

Experts argue the repeal of net neutrality would be harmful to consumers. Joseph Tomain, visiting lecturer and senior fellow in the Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research at Indiana University’s Maurer School of Law, said the repeal could impact individuals’ freedom of expression, as ISPs could have control over what content could be accessed. Additionally, he explained, ending net neutrality would have a negative impact on the digital economy, as ISPs could interfere with the operations of companies that depend on online sales.

As of now, net neutrality is set to expire on June 10, according to a recently issued notice by the Federal Communications Commission. Several states, including Washington, Oregon, and California, expecting the FCC’s termination of the act to move forward, are proposing—and passing—net neutrality laws of their own, setting them up for a showdown with the government.

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