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House Passes Net Neutrality Bill, But Prospect Remains Dim

Net neutrality is back in the spotlight.

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a pro-net neutrality bill largely on party lines. Now the Save the Internet Act of 2019 will go to the Republican-controlled Senate, where it’s likely to be voted down along party lines.

Even if proponents do manage to convince Senators to support it, the White House has threatened to veto the bill.

So, on its surface, this might seem like political posturing, resurrecting an item that many Americans support. But it could be the beginning of a multi-front war to restore the policy.

Net neutrality prevented internet providers from blocking or slowing websites, but FCC chairman Ajit Pai reversed Obama-era policies last year, which led to net neutrality’s death. The repeal of was supported by telecom providers such as Comcast and Verizon, but opposed by large tech companies, including Google and Facebook. (Several major Websites, including Reddit and Pornhub, protested the action as well.)

Several lawsuits are still pending, though. Later this spring, a U.S. District Court will rule on whether the FCC acted properly in changing the regulations. And several states, including Washington, have rolled out their own net neutrality regulations. California also enacted its own net neutrality mandate, but immediately faced a lawsuit from the Justice Department. (That suit has been put on hold for now.)

“Outside of Washington, #NetNeutrality is not a partisan issue! 86% of Americans support the free and open internet,” tweeted Rep. Mike Doyle (D-PA), who introduced the bill last month.