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In Big Win for Open-Internet Advocates, Senate Votes to Undo 2017 Net Neutrality Repeal

WASHINGTON - On Wednesday, the Senate voted 52–47 in favor of a resolution of disapproval that would overturn the Federal Communications Commission’s unpopular 2017 repeal of Net Neutrality protections.

The resolution, introduced by Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey, would roll back the rule change, set to take effect June 11, and restore internet-user safeguards that prevented broadband providers like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon from blocking, throttling or otherwise manipulating online content.

The measure now moves to the House of Representatives, where an identical resolution, sponsored by Pennsylvania Rep. Mike Doyle, already has more than 160 co-sponsors.

Today’s successful Senate vote follows weeks of grassroots activism spearheaded by Free Press Action Fund, Fight for the Future and Demand Progress — the groups behind the Team Internet organizing effort and BattlefortheNet.com. Last week, the groups raised an internet-wide “red alert” as activists, major web companies, online forums and small businesses used their sites to drive constituent calls and emails to lawmakers ahead of the Senate vote.

Net Neutrality protections have broad bipartisan support among voters across the country. An April 2018 University of Maryland poll showed 82 percent of Republicans and 90 percent of Democrats oppose FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s decision to repeal the Title II open-internet protections his predecessor put in place. Several other public polls show a consistent pattern of support among Republicans, Democrats and independents.  

Free Press Action Fund President and CEO Craig Aaron made the following statement:

“Today the Senate has taken a giant step toward unwinding the least-popular policy decision in the history of the FCC. The Senate vote is a historic win for supporters of Net Neutrality and a stinging rebuke to the army of phone- and cable-company lobbyists and lackeys trying to take away our internet freedom.

“Net Neutrality rules protect everyone’s right to a free and open internet. They safeguard free expression and choice, ensuring that people can start their own businesses, make their own media, further their education and fight for racial justice without fear of discrimination. That’s why so many people from across the political spectrum pushed their lawmakers to support this resolution — and the public pressure will only intensify as this measure moves to the House.  

“We need to know whether our elected officials stand with the public in support of Net Neutrality or with greedy phone and cable companies that seek to sell off our online rights. We’ll be taking careful note of where each member stands and won’t stop advocating for Net Neutrality until the rights of all internet users are restored.”

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