An important vote will take place in the U.S. Senate today. The future of a free and open Internet is at stake.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) last year saw signs that broadband providers were beginning to block or degrade website content and applications in order to control access to content. The writing was on the wall that the Internet service providers were ready to destroy what all of us have come to rely on—an extremely important tool for moving and accessing information without toll booths or roadblocks.
So the FCC developed some moderate regulations to try to preserve the open, unrestricted Internet we know today. Those regulations will go into effect on November 20th if Congress does not block them.
That is what the vote in the Senate is about today. The floor debate took place yesterday with the typical partisanship. Democrats arguing that the rules are needed to insure that corporate providers maintain a level playing field for total, open access to the Internet and Republicans continuing to beat the drum about too much regulation.
Interestingly, no major telecom firm has publicly supported the effort to block the FCC regulation. But at least one small telecom company has come out in favor of keeping the regulation. Matt Bauer, president and co-founder of BetterWorld Telecom (and fellow Board member of the American Sustainable Business Alliance) wrote in The Hill’s Congressional Blog yesterday:
The truth is that if we want to make sure small businesses across this country can grow with the assistance of broadband, the Internet must be open. We must, as the FCC says, “ensure the Internet remains an open platform—one characterized by free markets and free speech—that enables consumer choice, end-user control, competition through low barriers to entry, and freedom to innovate without permission.”
If you agree, contact your Senators quickly and tell them to vote NO on the resolution to block the FCC regulation on net neutrality. There will be a vote today and in this case a simple majority wins.UPDATE: The U.S. Senate voted 52-46 today against a resolution to block the FCC’s Net-neutrality rgulation. The new rules should go into effect on November 20th.