Net Neutrality Must Be Restored For The Sake Of Free Speech

Net NeutralityPA

A bill is set to be introduced in the United States House of Representatives to reinstate net neutrality.

The ‘Save the Internet Act’ will be introduced to re-establish laws that were repealed in late 2017.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) previously voted to remove restrictions put on internet service providers, which meant they could slow down the speed of some users and create fast lanes for people willing to pay extra.

Laws put in place by Barack Obama gave every citizen in America access to the same internet speeds; whether you were an individual streaming shows, a small shop, or a tech giant like Google. Large companies like Facebook and Google opposed the ruling, with internet service providers like Comcast and AT&T supporting the bill.

The text of the bill hasn’t been released just yet, but the proposal was included on Monday in a letter written by Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi. It’s thought the bill will likely call for internet services to be re-classified under ‘common carrier.

In 2017, the Senate controlled by the Democrats passed a resolution to overturn the FCC’s net neutrality repeal under the Congressional Review Act. But the House, which was then controlled by the Republicans, did not take up the resolution.

Without net neutrality, service providers would give those paying extra an access to faster, more efficient internet speeds. Providers would also be able to block or censor specific content without regulation.

Net NeutralityWikimedia Commons

Stronger net neutrality rules would make the FCC place bans on throttling site speed, something which ISPs are legally allowed to do. They’re allowed to charge more for access to certain websites or apps, block others, and throttle load speeds.

According to Inverse, a nationwide poll conducted by the pro-net neutrality Mozilla group (makers of the Firefox browser) found support for net neutrality was at 78 per cent. For adults under the age of 35, it was 84 per cent.

Timothy Karr, senior director of strategy and communications at Free Press told Gizmodo all sides of voters wanted net neutrality:

The bill isn’t out yet, but we hope it will give a congressional stamp of approval to the FCC’s 2015 Net Neutrality rules and the whole Open Internet Order.

That’s crucial, because the legal framework already in Title II is the baseline for guaranteeing the full range of protections demanded by internet users, including overwhelming majorities of Democratic and Republican voters.

With the Senate being controlled by the Republicans and the president being anti-net neutrality, it’s difficult to know how far the bill will actually go.

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