Feb 7, 2017

Net neutrality supporters promise "political firestorm"

Stacie Isabella Turk / Ribbonhead via Free Press

Efforts to dismantle the FCC's net neutrality rules are going to meet fierce pushback from progressive organizations that, two years ago, mobilized an aggressive campaign to help get the rules in place. At a press conference today, Democratic senators and their consumer group allies reinforced that stance:

  • Massachusetts Democrat Ed Markey promised that opponents of the regulations would trigger a grassroots "political firestorm" if they tried to "substantially change" the rules.
  • The senators (including Al Franken, Ron Wyden, Patrick Leahy and Richard Blumenthal) promised they would fight efforts to reverse the rules, both at the FCC and in Congress.

Watch this point: One way to resolve this debate would be bipartisan legislation protecting net neutrality. But Republicans have floated a bill that would also stop the FCC from treating broadband like a utility. Markey seemed skeptical of that solution. "So if there are any discussions which are taking place, it has to reflect the fact that we right now have a very strong regime that is there," he said. "And I have yet to hear of any proposal which would substitute for that type of system being left in place."

Taking a step back: Progressive defenders of the rules are one part of a much larger debate. Some Democrats might be more willing to make a deal. Bill Nelson, the top Democrat on the Senate's Commerce Committee, said in a statement that he's still open to a deal but that it isn't "going to happen overnight."

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