Prior to this week’s election, 95 candidates running for the House and Senate had taken a pledge promising support of Net neutrality. On Tuesday, all 95 candidates lost. That’s right, every single one. Is that dismal result the “final nail in the coffin for Net neutrality” as CNN claims?
Before Tuesday’s midterm elections, there were 95 House and Senate candidates who pledged support for Net neutrality, a bill that would force Internet providers to not charge users more for certain kinds of Web content.
All of them lost — and that could mean the contentious proposal may now be all but dead.
The Federal Communications Commission tried to implement Net neutrality rules but got smacked down in April by a court ruling saying it did not have the authority to do so. As a result, it is preparing a proposal asking Congress to give it new authority to regulate broadband Internet service.
If passed, the Net neutrality law would require Internet providers like phone and cable companies to treat all Web content equally. They would prevent providers from restricting access to certain sites or applications, or collecting fees to deliver some sites faster than others.
The debate over Net neutrality has been fiercely fought on both sides, and experts say the FCC’s proposed legislation had little chance of passing even in the current Congress.
The way the FCC is considering implementing the new regulations is vehemently opposed by cable and telecom companies, as well as many Republican and Democratic lawmakers.
The FCC has proposed that broadband be reclassified as a “Title II” telecommunications service, similar to other telephone companies. Opponents say this is a nuclear option, since it could potentially prevent broadband providers from implementing legitimate controls over their service, such as curbing massive downloads that swallow up bandwidth for users.