The U.S. Senate took a critical step toward restoring regulations known as net neutrality Wednesday. Fifty-two Senators voted to overturn the FCC decision to repeal net neutrality late last year.
Senators voted on a Congressional Review Act, which gives Congress the authority to overrule actions by federal agencies. The House will now have to approve its own companion version of the legislation if the process is going to move forward. The final step is a signature from President Donald Trump, which seems unlikely given the administration’s attitude toward regulation.
Net neutrality is a nickname for Obama-era regulations that require internet providers to treat all online traffic the same, without creating paid fast lanes or throttling content from some services.
Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) is a vocal advocate for net neutrality and even she acknowledged the challenges ahead during a press conference following Wednesday’s vote.
“I’m pretty sure our House colleagues are going to side with big cable companies who are hoping that the public did not notice that the Trump-era FCC rolled back strong internet protections,” she said.
The Pacific Northwest has stood in defiance of the FCC’s December decision to repeal the regulations. Washington became the first state in the nation to pass its own net neutrality protections for residents. Oregon enacted a law prohibiting government agencies from contracting with internet providers that don’t uphold net neutrality principles.
“I’m pretty sure I heard a large cheer go up in Seattle,” Cantwell said after the vote.
Listen to GeekWire’s interview with Cantwell on net neutrality below.